Union minister Ananth Kumar passes away

Bengaluru: Union minister for chemicals and fertilisers, minister for parliamentary affairs and six time MP of Bengaluru South Lok Sabha constituency, H.N. Ananth Kumar (59) passed away on Monday at a private Hospital in Bengaluru after prolonged illness.

He was undergoing treatment for lung cancer in Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital at Basavanagudi since October 20. Before he returned to India, Mr Kumar was undergoing treatment in England and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Centre, New York. His return to India following treatment was not very effective and he was admitted to Shankar Cancer Hospital.     n P7

Demise of Mr Kumar who was known for his organisational skills and strategy to build the party in the state especially in Bengaluru has created big void. Along with BJP state President B.S.Yeddyurappa, Ananth Kumar had strengthened the party since two decades, both were popularly called by party colleagues as Hakka-Bukka (founders of erstwhile Vijayanagara kingdom).

Mr Ananth Kumar was contested from Bengaluru South constituency in 1996 at the age of 36 after sitting BJP MP, Venkatageri Gowda suspended from the party for speaking against Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Since then, Mr Ananth Kumar represented Beng-aluru South for consecutive sixth term. He never lost the elections since 1996.  

Mr Kumar was Union minister in three times, he was inducted in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. As a Civil Aviation minister in Vajpayee Cabinet, Mr Kumar played instrumental role in giving shape to Bengaluru International Airport

In 1999, Mr Kumar handled various portfolios in Vajpayee government. He was minister for tourism, sports, culture and urban development and poverty alleviation.

When NDA was out of power, Mr Ananth Kumar was party national general secretary and also in charge of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar and contributed to party victory in both state elections.  

Close confidant of BJP patriarch L.K. Advani, he organised many Rath Yatras of Mr Advani. After Mr Advani and then BJP president Rajnath Singh, Mr Kumar occupied third position in party hierarchy.

In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made him minister for chemicals and fertilisers. But inevitably, Mr Modi promoted Mr Kumar as minister for parliamentary affairs during reshuffle of the cabinet in 2016. By that time, Mr Kumar changed his style of functioning and became closely associated with Mr Modi and Mr Shah. Moreover, he made remarkable performance in chemicals and fertilisers portfolio by doubling the production of fertilisers. and made neem coating urea to stop divergent of its industrial usage. Impressed with his performance, Prime Minister gave him additional charge of handling Parliamentary Affairs.

Born in a middle class Brahmin family, Hegganahalli Narayan Shastri and  Girija Shastri in 1959, Ananthkumar spend his early life in Hubballi. Mr. Kumar graduated with a bachelour of arts degree from K S Arts College in Hubbali, affiliated to the Karnataka University and he obtained law degree (LLB) from JSS law college, Mysore University.

During childhood days he joined RSS, inspired by JP movement, he opposed imposition of emergency and served sentence during emergency in 1974. He was in Hubballi sub-jail for over 40 days.between December 8 1975 and 14 January 1976.  Later he joined ABVP, student organization of Sang Parivar and served in ABVP for 5 years as a full time worker and in the capacity of national secretary.

In 1986, he joined BJP and built the organisation ground up in Bengaluru, later he joins hands with BJP senior leader B.S.Yeddyurappa to strengthen party organization in Karnataka.

Family Ananth Kumar is survived by his wife, Dr. Tejaswini and his two daughters, Aishwarya and Vijeta. Tejaswini Ananthkumar is running non-governmental organisation (NGO), it provides mid-day meal to Bengaluru schools.

The public can pay their respects to Ananth Kumar at his residence situated at Basavangudi on Monday. On November 13 , mortal remains of Ananth Kumar will be kept at the BJP office in Malleshwaram from 8am to 9am for viewing and from 9am to 12pm at the National College. His funeral is expected to be conducted shortly after 1pm at the Chamarajpet Crematorium, said state BJP release.

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