Indian Minister Ananth Kumar dead at 59

Ananth Kumar

Bengaluru–Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar died on Monday at a private hospital here due to multiple organ failure, a BJP spokesman said. He was 59.

“A state funeral with 21-gun salute and guard of honour will be accorded to the mortal remains of Kumar at a crematorium in the city’s southwest suburb on Tuesday afternoon in accordance with Hindu rites,” an official told IANS.

The veteran BJP lawmaker from this tech city died around 3 a.m. at Shankara Cancer Hospital due to multi-organ failure three weeks after he was admitted on return from the US on October 21.

Prime Minster Narendra Modi flew into the city on Monday night from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and paid last respects to Kumar at his residence in the city’s southern suburb by laying a wreath on the tricolour-draped glass casket in which his body lay in waiting for public homage.

Modi has also consoled Kumar’s widow Tejaswani, their two daughters Aishwarya and Vijeta and expressed grief to Kumar’s siblings — brother Nand Kumar and sister Suhasini.

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala and BJP’s state unit president B.S. Yeddyruappa accompanied Modi to Kumar’s residence for homage.

“The body will be taken to the party’s state unit office in the city’s northwest region on Tuesday at 8 a.m. for tributes by state leaders and cadres and kept at the National College grounds in Basavangudi in the southern suburb from 10 a.m to 1 p.m for public homage,” said the party in a statement later.

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, party’s national president Amit Shah, several Union Ministers and party leaders will visit the city on Tuesday to pay homage to Kumar and attend his last rites.

Earlier in the day, the Karnataka government declared a three-day mourning across the state and one-day public holiday for Monday as a mark of respect to Kumar.

The departed leader was also Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers in the NDA-led government since May 2014.

A six-time parliamentarian from the Bengaluru South Lok Sabha constituency since 1996, Kumar was undergoing treatment for cancer in the UK and US since late August.

“He first went to London after the monsoon session of Parliament in July-August and was later shifted to a New York hospital.

“The cancer had spread to other parts of his body that resulted in his multi-organ failure and death,” said Shantaram.

As news of Kumar’s demise spread across the city, hundreds of people, including party’s state unit leaders rushed to his residence to pay their last respects.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Arun Jaitely, Nirmala Sitharaman and Nitin Gadkari mourned Kumar’s death and expressed condolences to his bereaved family.

Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, cabinet ministers of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and Congress coalition government joined BJP’s state unit leaders and cadres in condoling Kumar’s death.

“The national flag will fly half-mast on public buildings across the state and all official engagements are cancelled till Wednesday,” the Congress-JD-S government announced. (IANS)


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