Venkaiah Naidu association with the RSS began way back in 1963 when his enthusiasm to play kabaddi drew him to the local Sangh group which played regularly in his neighbourhood during his boyhood days. A friend took him there and he stayed on.
The student leader graduated to join the Jan Sangh in 1973 and says he was highly influenced by Jan Sangh leaders Jagannathrao Joshi and Bal Apte.
He replaced Jana Krishnamurthy in 2002 as BJP president when he and Jaitley left the Vajpayee government for organisational duty. He was in the thick of BJP’s ill-starred 2004 campaign and had the difficult task of presiding over a fractious meeting of the party national council after the defeat.