New Delhi: The mortal remains of Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar were consigned to flames with full state honours here on Tuesday.
The funeral pyre was lit by Kumar's younger brother Nanda Kumar, who performed the last rites according to Smartha Brahmin traditions, amidst chanting of Vedic hymns by priests at the Chamarajapete cremation ground.
Chants of "Amar rahe, amar rahe, Ananth Kumar amar rahe" and "Bharat mata ki jai" rent the air as leaders paid homage and the mortal remains were consigned to flames.
Hundreds of BJP leaders and cadres on Tuesday paid their last respects to the mortal remains of Union Minister Ananth Kumar, who died on Monday.
A galaxy of BJP leaders including Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, LK Advani and Home Minister Rajnath Singh paid their respects to the Union minister. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and BJP chief Amit Shah were among those present.
"Kumar's body was brought to the party office in Malleshwaram from his residence at Basavangudi on a flower-bedecked military around 9 am," party spokesman S Shantaram told IANS.
The casket was placed in the main hall of the party office as state unit chief BS Yeddurappa, KS Eshwarappa, R Ashok, Union Ministers DV Sadananda Gowda and Ramesh Jigjinagi, party's members of Parliament and the state legislature among others gathered to pay their final floral tributes.
The Vice President consoled Kumar's wife Tejaswini and other family members. He was accompanied by Governor Vajubhai Vala and state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa. According BJP sources, Naidu and Kumar shared a good bond and had spoken about their cordial relationship on several occasions in the past, PTI reported.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the family of the senior BJP leader in Bengaluru and paid his last respects to his cabinet colleague on Monday evening.
Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister and senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar died at a private hospital here in the early hours of Monday after battling lung cancer for several months, hospital authorities said.
The 59-year-old Bangalore South MP breathed his last around 2am at the Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital and Research Centre where he was under care after returning home in October following treatment in the US and Britain.
Naidu in his condolence message said he was "shocked" and "deeply saddened" to learn about the untimely demise of Kumar. "He has been a valued colleague of mine for years, right from the times of the students' movement to the Parliament. He was a committed nationalist a celebrated and loved leader and a good administrator.
"A reputed parliamentarian and a captivating speaker, his personality was multifaceted. His illustrious career and the long list of his accomplishments in public life bear testimony to the selfless service he offered to out country," he said.
The vice president said Kumar's demise is a "big loss" to Indian democracy and polity. Rajya Sabha deputy speaker Harivansh said the death of Ananth Kumar is a huge loss for Indian politics.
"His sudden and untimely death is a matter of shock for me," he said.
Harivansh said Kumar was known for his mild manners and cordiality among the people across all the political parties and he had all the qualities of head and heart which had endeared him to everyone. Describing him as a distinguished leader of his age, the RS deputy chairman said Kumar was so popular that he acted as a bridge between south and north in Indian politics.