Union Minster Ananth Kumar passes away

NC Network

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and veteran BJP leader Ananth Kumar died at a private hospital in  Bengaluru on Monday morning after battling lung cancer for several months. 

The 59 year old minister who returned home this October after undergoing a treatment in US and UK passed away around 2 am. His wife  Tejaswini and two daughters were by his side, B R Nagaraj, chairperson of the board of trustees of Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation, said. 

The Union minister, who passed away from complications following cancer and infection, had been on the ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit for the last few days. 

The Karnataka unit of BJP said that his mortal remains will be kept at his residence here the entire day Monday and the last rites will be performed Tuesday.  The body will be taken to the state BJP office and the National College ground, which falls in his constituency, before the funeral at Chamarajapete crematorium.

The Home Ministry in Delhi announced that the national flag will fly at half mast throughout the country on Monday as a mark of respect to Kumar. 

Three day three-day state mourning and a holiday on Monday as a mark of respect to the leader is declared by the Karnataka government. 

Kumar was a staunch RSS idealogue who was the first person to speak in Kannada in the United Nations.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and leaders across the Indian politics condoled the  death of the six-time parliamentarian. 

Expressing his condolences, President Kovind said, "This is a tragic loss to public life in our country and particularly for the people of Karnataka. My condolences to his family, colleagues and countless associates." 

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu described Kumar as a "colleague for years together, from students' movement to Parliament" and hailed him as a "dedicated statesman".

The prime minister said he was extremely saddened by the passing away of a "valued colleague and friend" and described him as a remarkable leader, who entered public life at a young age and went on to serve society with utmost diligence and compassion.

"Ananth Kumar Ji was an able administrator, who handled many ministerial portfolios and was a great asset to the BJP organisation. He worked hard to strengthen the party in Karnataka, particularly in Bengaluru and surrounding areas," Modi said in a tweet.

He said he had spoken to Kumar's wife to express condolences."My thoughts are with his entire family, friends and supporters in this hour of grief and sadness. Om Shanti," he said.

"I'm sorry to hear about the passing of Union Minister, Shri Ananth Kumar ji, in Bengaluru, earlier this morning. My condolences to his family & friends. May his soul rest in peace. Om Shanti," Congress chief Gandhi said in his message. 

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy described Kumar as a "value based" politician who made significant contribution to the country as a parliamentarian and a union minister. Kumar's pro-people attitude and activities made him apple of the eye of Bengalurians," Kumaraswamy said.

Senior BJP leader R Ashoka said Home Minister Rajnath Singh has confirmed that he would be in the city to pay his last respects but the party was yet to receive any intimation about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit.

With inputs from agency

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