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Mani Shankar Aiyar

Part of 'Young Team' Rajiv Gandhi picked for building his new India, Mani Shankar Aiyer is one of the key advisors to Sonia Gandhi.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2006 02:26 IST

Part of 'Young Team' Rajiv Gandhi picked for building his new India, Mani Shankar Aiyer is today one of the key advisors to Sonia Gandhi.

Born in Lahore in Pakistan, Aiyer was brilliant in academics throughout his student career. An economics graduate from Delhi University and further on from Cambridge, he was in Indian Foreign service for 26 years before taking a plunge into politics, the last five of which were on deputation to the Prime Minister's Office under Rajiv Gandhi (1985-89).

At the request of Rajiv Gandhi, he resigned from the Foreign Service in 1989 and contested general elections. He become a Member of Parliament as a Congress MP from Tamil Nadu in 1991 and was re-elected in 1999.

A special invitee to the Congress Working Committee, the highest policy-making body of the Congress, Aiyer is also the chairman of Political Training Department and the Department of Policy Planning and Coordination of the party.

He has been re-elected to the 14th Lok Sabha from the Mayiladuthurai constituency. Aiyer has a strong personal base in this constituency as he had got 72,000 votes by contesting as an Independent in the 1998 Lok Sabha election. Today, he is the 'sitting' Congress MP though.

Sometime back he had an alteration with AIADMK supremo, Jayalalithaa. A staunch supporter of AIADMK once, he has now turned one of its sharpest critics.

He is a well-known political columnist and has written several books, namely "Pakistan Papers" and "Remembering Rajiv". He has also edited a four-volume publication, "Rajiv Gandhi's India".

He is married with three daughters. He speaks topics ranging from grassroot democracy, foreign policy particularly in the neighbourhood of his country and West Asia to nuclear disarmament.

First Published: Nov 19, 2005 16:13 IST