K B Ganesh Kumar was the Minister for Forests, Sports and Cinema in the Government of Kerala from May 2011 to March 2013. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly on three consecutive occasions from the Pathanapuram constituency in Kollam district.
Born in 1966 with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, Ganesh Kumar studied Commerce at the Government Arts College, Trivandrum, before making his acting debut in the 1985 Malayalam film "Erakal." A man of great versatility and impeccable taste, Ganesh Kumar acted in a variety of Malayalam films and television serials. In November 2008 he won the State Television Award for his role in the Surya TV serial "Madhavam". In May 2008, he performed a daring fire escape act at Kozhikode for the film 'Agnisakshiyay.' Ganesh Kumar has diverse interests and his over-riding fascination for vehicles includes transport buses and even pachyderms.
In May 2001, Ganesh Kumar was elected to the Kerala Assembly from Pathanapuram on the Kerala Congress (B) ticket. He wrested the seat from the CPI, defeating his opponent, K Prakash Babu, by a comfortable margin of 9,931 votes. This was the first time in the history of Kerala that an individual from the film industry had been elected to the Assembly. (Earlier, industry titans like Prem Nazir had tasted defeat at the hustings.) Ganesh Kumar's father and former Minister, R Balakrishan Pillai had also been elected from the neighbouring constituency of Kottarakara, which he had represented for several decades. The father-son duo made history by becoming the first such pair to adorn the Kerala Assembly simultaneously.
Ganesh Kumar became Transport Minister in the A K Antony cabinet in May 2001 and went on to give a good account of himself. Though a political novice at that time, he turned around the ailing KSRTC (Kerala State Road Transport Corporation) and earned a reputation for providing a clean and efficient administration. In March 2003, he stepped down from his ministerial post to facilitate his father's induction into the Cabinet.
In the 2006 Assembly elections, Ganesh Kumar was once again elected from Pathanapuram, this time realizing an increased victory margin of 11,814 votes and defeating K R Chandramohanan of the CPI. Though the Left parties had made a clean sweep, winning 11 out of 12 seats in Kollam District and a formidable majority in the State Assembly, the Pathanapuram voters stood by Ganesh Kumar, making him the only UDF winner from Kollam District.
In the 2011 Assembly elections, Ganesh Kumar scored a hat-trick win from Pathanapuram with an even bigger margin of 20,402 votes, trouncing his veteran CPM rival, K Rajagopal. He went on to become a Minister in the Oommen Chandy cabinet in May 2011, but resigned on 1st April 2013 after initiating divorce proceedings against his wife of 18 years, followed by counter allegations of domestic violence.