In Ananth Kumar’s Demise, BJP loses A stalwart in South India

ANANTH Kumar, Union Parliamentary Affairs   Minister from Karnataka, who expired on Monday, was laid to rest with full state honors in Bengaluru on Tuesday in the presence of several Union Ministers, BJP leaders including Lal Krishna Advani and party’s national President Amit Shah. Earlier, Prime Minister had paid homage to him at his residence. Countless mourners including leaders and supporters on Tuesday paid their last respects to Ananth Kumar. The body was taken from his Basavanagudi residence where it was kept since Monday morning to Jagannath Bhavan, the BJP state headquarters at Malleshwarm, in a decorated military vehicle with personnel of the three services- the Army, Navy and Air Force- accompanying it. The procession began, with supporters chanting slogans “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, “Ananth Kumar Amar Rahe”.State BJP president B S Yeddyurappa and party’s General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka Muralidhar Rao were present at the state BJP office, where a pall of gloom has descended. Several BJP leaders including Union Minister Sadananada Gowda, R Ashoka, K S Eshwarappa, Anurag Thakur, Pralhad Joshi, and hundreds of party workers paid their last respects to the departed leader at the party office, where the body will be kept for about an hour.Kumar’s mortal remains then were shifted to the National College Ground, which falls in his constituency, for the public to pay homage, before the funeral at Chamarajapet crematorium in the afternoon. The central government has announced a state funeral for Kumar.  Kumar’s brother Nanda Kumar performed the last rites as per Brahmin traditions. The 59-year-old Bangalore South MP breathed his last around 2 am on Monday at the Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in the metropolis  he was under care after returning home in October following treatment in the US and Britain.Besides Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu ,Union Ministers, including Rajnath Singh, Piyush Goyal, Harsh Vardhan, Radha Mohan Singh, Ramdas Atavale, Mahesh Sharma, Ashwinikumar Choube and Ramkripal Yadav were  present at the crematorium .Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew in here from Varanasi and drove straight to the residence of Kumar at Basavanagudi and paid homage to his colleague by placing a wreath on his mortal remains.PM Modi consoled Kumar’s wife Tejaswini and his two daughters..BJP leaders and those from various political parties, relatives, family friends, party workers and people made a beeline at Kumar’s residence to pay homage to the “most-loved” Bengaluru MP, known for his affability and cordial ties with rivals.The Karnataka government had declared a three-day state mourning. Foraying into politics in 1987, Kumar became Union minister in the Vajpayee cabinet in 1998 when he was only 38.He  was  close to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and now Narendra Mod.  He served as an important link between the central and state units of the party. Kumar was among the few party leaders who could be credited for the growth of the BJP in Karnataka along with Yeddyurappa and some others bringing it to power in 2008 and making it the first saffron party government in the South. Kumar made his parliamentary debut in 1996 from Bangalore South  where he remained unconquered till his death. He had defeated software icon Nandan Nilekani who had contested against him in the highly politically conscious constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Hundreds of BJP leaders and cadres on Tuesday paid their last respects to the mortal remains of Union Minister Ananth Kumar, who suddenly passed away here a day before, an official said.

The 59-year-old, who was ailing from cancer, died on Monday at a private hospital here due to multiple organ failure.

“Kumar’s body was brought to the party office in Malleshwaram from his residence at Basavangudi on a flower-bedecked military around 9 a.m.,” party spokesman S. Shantaram told IANS.

The cortege carrying the glass casket was draped in the national flag.

It was escorted by the city police on the 10km ride, clearing traffic during the peak hour, as the procession was already running behind schedule.

The casket was kept in the main hall of the party office as state unit chief B.S. Yeddurappa, K.S. Eshwarappa, R. Ashok, Union Ministers D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Ramesh Jigjinagi, party’s members of Parliament and the state legislature among others gathered to pay their final floral tributes.

Many of the cadres arrived across the state by overnight trains, buses and private vehicles, Shantaram said.

“The body will be taken to the National College grounds at Basavangudi in the city’s southern suburb by 11 a.m., and kept in state till afternoon,” the official added.

A state funeral would be held later in the day with full military honours and 21-gun salute before the last rites are conducted in accordance with the Hindu rites at the Chamarajpet crematorium here.

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and party’s national president Amit Shah were expected to attend the last rites. – IANS

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