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Ananth Kumar, Union Minister and BJP Leader, Dies of Cancer at 59; Karnataka Declares 3-Day Mourning, Holiday

Ananth Kumar was suffering from cancer and had come back from the US in October. He is survived by wife Tejaswini and two daughters.


Updated:November 12, 2018, 9:31 AM IST

Bengaluru: Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister and senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar died at a private hospital in the early hours of Monday, party spokesman said.

He was suffering from cancer and had come back from the US in October after treatment at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, New York.

Kumar, 59, is survived by wife and two daughters. He breathed his last around 4 am, party spokesman Prakash told PTI. Kumar's wife Tejaswini and his two daughters were with him when he passed away, he said.

Kumar was a BJP MP from South Bengaluru constituency. BJP sources said the body of Kumar would be kept at the National College Ground, which falls in his constituency, for public homage. Details of funeral arrangements were being worked out, the sources said.

Kumar passed away from complications following cancer and infections, his party office said in a statement. He had been on the ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit for the last few days, it said.

The Karnataka government has declared three-day mourning and one-day holiday, while the national flag will be flown at half-mast.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled Kumar's demise, remembering him as a "remarkable leader".

"Extremely saddened by the passing away of my valued colleague and friend, Shri Ananth Kumar Ji. He was a remarkable leader, who entered public life at a young age and went on to serve society with utmost diligence and compassion. He will always be remembered for his good work," he tweeted.

BJP chief Amit Shah said Kumar's passing has "left a void in the BJP"

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also expressed deep sorrow over Kumar's death.

"Deep sense of grief on hearing that Shri @AnanthKumar_BJP is no more with us. Served @BJP4India @BJP4Karnataka all along. Bengaluru was in his head and heart, always. May God give his family the strength to bear with this loss," she tweeted.

Union minister Sadananda Gowda also expressed condolence on Twitter and changed his display picture to black.

Leaders from the Congress and other opposition parties also paid their last respects to the departed leader.

A six-time member of Parliament, Kumar had climbed the political ladder steadily from being an RSS worker to be the Union minister in his thirties.

Kumar had been in the inner circle of the central leadership of the BJP — be it during the heydays of Atal Bihari Vajpayee or LK Advani and now Narendra Modi.

He joined the BJP in 1987 and never looked back, as he held posts of state secretary, state president of the Yuva Morcha, general secretary and national secretary.

Along with state BJP chief Yeddyurappa, Kumar is among a few party leaders who can be credited for the growth of BJP in Karnataka, as they built the party and bringing it to power in 2008, making it the first saffron party government in the south.

Kumar first got elected to Lok Sabha in 1996 from Bangalore South, the constituency, which remained his bastion till his passing away.

| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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