Renuka Chowdhury is an Indian politician and a member of the Indian National Congress (INC). She has served as the Member of the Rajya Sabha for Andhra Pradesh (2012-2018) and the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Women and Child Development (2006-2009) and Tourism (2004-2006) in the Government of India.
Renuka Chowdhury was born on Friday, 13 August 1954 (age 68 years; as of 2022) in Visakhapatnam, Andhra State (now Andhra Pradesh), India. Her zodiac sign is Leo. The daughter of an air commander, Renuka grew up in different parts of India, learning different languages and understanding different cultures. She did her schooling at the Welham Girls’ School, Dehradun, Uttarakhand. She pursued a master’s degree in Industrial Psychology from Karnataka University (1976). MyNeta She also holds a diploma in marketing management, public relations and advertising. Hindustan Times Before venturing into politics in 1984, she was a homemaker.
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Renuka Chowdhury’s father, Kanumilli Suryanarayana Rao (deceased), was an Air Commodore in the Indian Air Force. Her mother’s name is Vasundhra Rao. Renuka is the eldest of three daughters.
Wife & Children
On 7 October 1973, Renuka Chowdhury got married to the businessman Sreedhar Chowdhury. Together, the couple has two daughters, Poojita Chowdhury, a documentary filmmaker, and Tejaswini Chowdhury.
Earlier, Poojita Chowdhury was married to the London-based opthalmologist Satya Sai Prasad, but the marriage ended in divorce. The event attracted immense media attention as Renuka Chowdhary filed a complaint against Poojita’s in-laws, accusing them of harassment for dowry. Later, Poojita got married to Chaitanya, an NRI based in the USA.
She resides at H. No. 8-2-680, Road No. 1, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad-500034, Andhra Pradesh.
Telugu Desam Party
In 1984, Renuka Chowdhury ventured into politics as a member of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and began her political career as a corporator at Banjara Hills, Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. She contested the Panyam assembly seat in the 1993 by-election, which Congress leader and chief minister Kotla Vijayabhaskar Reddy was contesting to fulfil his constitutional obligation. She lost the election. For two terms, from 1986 to 1998, she was a member of the Rajya Sabha and Chief Whip of the Telugu Desam Parliamentary party. She campaigned against NTR in his Hindupur constituency. Consequently, he expelled her from the party and even wrote to the Rajya Sabha chairman, asking him for her suspension. From her expulsion to the end of the term, she remained a member of a separate party, TDP-2, formed by her. After NTR’s death in 1996, Renuka returned to the TDP and served as the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare from 1997 to 1998 in the cabinet of H. D. Deve Gowda. When film star-turned-politician Jaya Prada was nominated in her place for a third term in the Rajya Sabha in 1998, she turned her rage on Chandrababu Naidu and questioned his decision to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Thereafter, Naidu expelled her from the TDP on charges of indiscipline.
Indian National Congress
In 1998, she joined the INC. She became a spokesperson for Congress in 2012.
1999 General Elections
In 1999, she contested and won the Khammam Lok Sabha seat, defeating the TDP candidate Baby Swarna Kumari by 8398 votes. From 1999 to 2000, she served as a Member of Committee on Finance. From 2000 to 2001, she was a Member of Committee on the Empowerment of Women.
2004 General Elections
In 2004, she contested and won the Khammam Lok Sabha seat, defeating the TDP candidate Nama Nageswara Rao by 1,08,888 votes. From 23 May 2004 to 28 January 2006, she served as the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Tourism. She served as the Minister of Women and Child Development from 29 January 2006 to 22 May 2009.
2009 General Elections
In 2009, she contested the Khammam Lok Sabha seat, but she was defeated by TDP candidate Nama Nageswara Rao by 1,24,448 votes.
In 2012, she was re-elected to Rajya Sabha, where she served till 2 April 2018. In September 2014, she became a Member of Committee on Agriculture and a Member of House Committee. In April 2016, she was named to the Member of General Purposes Committee. She also served as the Chairperson of Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests from 2016 to 2018.
Cop Assault Case
On 20 January 1993, Renuka manhandled a traffic policeman, Janki Ram, who prevented her from driving across a road which was sanitised and closed for the public as the prime minister was to use it. Chowdhury is said to have abused traffic head constable Janki at about 7.50 pm while he was posted on a route at Kautilya Marg near Teen Murti in New Delhi. In May 1993, police filed a chargesheet against her, but a Metropolitan Magistrate declined to accept it unless Choudhary was arrested. She was discharged from the case in 2005. The Times of India
Ties with Tax Evader Hassan Ali Khan
In 2011, Kashinath Tapuriah, in his testimony, revealed that tax evader Hassan Ali Khan had gifted a Rs 1.2 crore diamond to Renuka Chowdhury. Kashinath Tapuriah is a Kolkata-based industrialist and one-time business partner of Khan who was accused with him in the tax evasion case. While talking about the diamond gifted to Chowdhury, Tapuriah said,
I had taken a diamond from Soir Jewellers in Mumbai, owned by building contractor Abbas Naqvi, to keep with me. (It) cost around Rs 1.2 crore. Khan took it saying he would give me the money or the diamond within three months. He told me that he wanted to give the diamond to an important person and referred to Renuka Chowdhury. She is a politician. Khan had told me that she was a very close friend. I was never paid for the diamond…”
He also said,
I had gone to meet Khan at a flat in Mumbai. Chaudhary was present there and Khan introduced me to him. Later, I came to know that Khan was staying with Chaudhary in the flat.”
Later, Renuka Chowdhury sent defamation notices to publications which had printed the testimony of Kashinath Tapuriah. She pointed out that never in her life had she met Tapuriah. She claimed that Tapuriah, who was not present when the ring was handed over, had mixed up her name with another woman politician. India Today
Calling Mangalore a “Talibanized” City
In February 2009, she launched a Pub Bharo Andolan in response to Sri Ram Sene’s Valentine’s Day threat. She urged the youth should swarm pubs to teach a befitting lesson to the moral police brigade. Mid-Day The campaign was headed by her younger daughter Tejaswini. It was launched in the aftermath of the 2009 Mangalore pub attack in which Sri Ram Sena, headed by Pramod Muthalik, attacked a group of young women and men in a pub in Mangalore, India. Following the 2009 Mangalore pub attack, Renuka commented that Mangalore had been “talibanized.” Consequently, Mangalore Mayor Ganesh Hosabettu filed a case against her for tarnishing the city’s image. He accused her of glorifying isolated incidents and making generalized comments about Mangalore. NDTV- YouTube Earlier, P P Hegde, the Mayor’s advocate, had sent a notice to Renuka demanding an apology from her within three days.
Booked for Grabbing the Collar of a Police Officer
In 2022, during the ‘Chalo Raj Bhavan’ protest organised by the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) in Hyderabad, Congress leaders Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka and Renuka Chowdhury entered into scuffles with the police. The protest was organised by the TPCC against the questioning of Rahul Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate in a money-laundering case. In a video that went viral, Vikramarka was seen pushing and shoving police officers, and Chowdhury was seen grabbing a sub-inspector by his collar as she protested against being forcibly removed from the site. The Hindu Clarifying her actions while addressing the media, she said,
I didn’t assault, I don’t have anything against that young man. He never did anything to me. I was losing balance and I held on. If you move, I will have to hold to steady myself as we were being pushed and bullied from the back..”
#WATCH | Telangana: Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury holds a Policeman by his collar while being taken away by other Police personnel during the party's protest in Hyderabad over ED summons to Rahul Gandhi. pic.twitter.com/PBqU7769LE
— ANI (@ANI) June 16, 2022
- Cash: Rs. 1,30,000
- Deposits in Banks, Financial Institutions and Non-Banking Financial Companies (approx.): Rs. 1,56,00,000
- Bonds, Debentures and Shares in companies (approx.): Rs. 1,43,00,000
- LIC or other insurance Policies (approx.): Rs 2,54,00,000
- Jewellery (approx.): Rs 11,58,000
- Agricultural Land (approx.): Rs. 12,17,00,000
- Residential Buildings (approx.): Rs 20,00,00,000
As of 2019, her net worth is Rs. 26,47,99,918.
- Once, she made headlines by saying that Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu looked like a pickpocket standing at a bus stand and described Jaya Prada as a “bimbo.” Thereafter, she waged a war against the media and dared the policemen to arrest her.
- In 2007, she gave a controversial statement in which she advised to women to “trust condoms more than men.” While explaining the statement, she said,
People should understand the context (of the statement) — that most women get HIV/AIDS from their husbands. I just wanted to caution them.”
However, she was heavily slammed by many who believed that she could have used more subtle ways of cautioning. Meanwhile, others questioned Chowdhury’s wisdom in encouraging women to purchase condoms themselves, saying women might be branded as sex workers while doing so.
- While heading the women and child development ministry, her strong advocacy of the Domestic Violence Act garnered immense hatred for her. Reportedly, various sites and blogs described her as a ‘men hater’ and ‘creator of gender bias in the Indian laws.’ In 2006, Renuka Chaudhary got the Domestic Violence Act passed during her tenure as Minister of Women and Child Development without any debate or discussion on its relevance or pros and cons to Indian society prior to its enactment. Her defeat in the 2009 General Elections was celebrated by a group of men who had been demanding the abolition of the controversial Domestic Violence Act. Sarkar, the Delhi coordinator of Save Family Foundation (SFF), a group that had been demanding the abolition of the Domestic Violence Act (DV Act), alleged that the act was pro-women and was often misused in cases of marital discord. Mid-Day Sarkar said,
Renuka is among the people who introduced the draconian Section 498-A of IPC and the Domestic Violence Act. These laws have become a tool to harass married men by giving unlimited benefits to wives.”
- In 2008, while serving as the women and child development minister, Renuka Chowdhury proposed distributing pre-packaged food instead of freshly cooked hot meals to malnourished children under the Integrated Child Development Scheme, but her proposal was categorically rejected by both the Planning Commission as well as the cabinet committee on economic affairs. While the Planning Commission claimed that packaged foods could lead to serious health risks for children by exposing them to excessive doses of micronutrients, the cabinet committee pointed out that centralised procurement of packaged mixes could lead to corruption.
- In 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dig at Renuka Chowdhury, who had burst into laughter in the middle of his speech in the Rajya Sabha. Modi stunned Renuka into silence by saying,
Sabhapati ji meri aapse vinti hai Renuka ji ko kuch mat kahiye. Ramayan serial ke baad aisi hansi sunne ka saubhagya aaj jaake mila hai ”
(I request you to let Renuka ji continue. After the Ramayan serial, we got the privilege of hearing this kind of laughter only today.)
The video went viral on the internet following which Renuka was heavily trolled.
— NDTV (@ndtv) February 7, 2018
- In 2016, she came under public scrutiny after a picture showing her servant standing beside her while she and her family dined at a restaurant went viral on the internet. In the picture, her entire family was seen sitting but a child’s nanny was standing next to her. Consequently, she was slammed by many for her insensitive behaviour citing that she had previously served as Union Minister of State for Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- In 2009, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) activists attacked the camp office of Renuka Chowdhary in Khammam, accusing her of being against a separate state of Telangana. Reportedly, the attackers attempted to set fire to the camp office, leaving the windows of the building partially burnt. The activists also left behind a letter alleging that Chowdhury was anti-Telengana.