Ananth Kumar dead; 3-day mourning in Karnataka (Third Lead)

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Bengaluru, Nov 12 (IANS) Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar died on Monday at a private hospital here due to multiple organ failure, a BJP spokesman said. He was 59.

“Kumar passed away around 3 a.m. at Shankara Cancer Hospital due to multi-organ failure three weeks after he was admitted on return from the US on October 21,” party’s state unit spokesman S. Shantaram told IANS.

The Karnataka government declared a three-day mourning across the state and one-day public holiday for Monday as a mark of respect.

The departed leader was also the Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister in the NDA-led government since May 2014.

A six-time parliamentarian from the Bengaluru South Lok Sabha constituency since 1996, Ananth Kumar had been undergoing treatment for cancer in the UK and US since August.

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“He first went to London after the monsoon session of Parliament in July-August and was later shifted to a New York hospital.

“The cancer had spread to other parts of his body that resulted in his multi-organ failure and death,” said Shantaram.

The late Union Minister is survived by his widow Tejaswani, two daughters Aishwaraya and Vijayeta, younger brother Nand Kumar and younger sister Suhasini.

As news of Kumar’s demise spread across the city, hundreds of people, including party’s state unit leaders rushed to his residence to pay their last respects.

Several Bharatiya Janata Party’s leaders, including state unit chief B.S. Yeddyurappa and legislators R. Ashoka and Suresh Kumar visited Kumar’s house and condoled his death, calling it an “irreparable loss” to the party.

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“I am under deep grief to hear about the demise of my friend and Union Minister Ananth Kumar. He worked tirelessly to strengthen the BJP in Karnataka and nation…,” Yeddyurappa said in a tweet.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Arun Jaitely, Nirmala Sitharaman and Nitin Gadkari mourned Kumar’s death and expressed condolences to his bereaved family.

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, cabinet ministers of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and Congress coalition government joined BJP’s state unit leaders and cadres in condoling Kumar’s death.

“Prime Minister Modi, Union Ministers and the party’s national leadership are expected to attend Kumar’s state funeral in the city on Tuesday,” Shantaram said.

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The Minister’s body will be kept in state at his residence in Basavangudi in the city’s southern suburb on Monday, and will be shifted to the party office in Malleshwaram in the city’s northwestern suburb at 8 a.m. on Tuesday for BJP cadres to pay their respects, a statement from the party said.

“The body will later be kept at National College Grounds (in southern suburb) for public viewing from 10 a.m. on Tuesday, after which the last rites will be performed at 1 p.m. at Chamrajpet crematorium,” the statement added.

“The national flag will fly half-mast on public buildings across the state and all official engagements are cancelled till Wednesday,” the Congress-JD-S government announced.

–IANS

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