Three-day State mourning; funeral today at Sorab
Former chief minister and veteran politician Sarekoppa Bangarappa passed away in the early hours of Monday at a private hospital here following a multi organ failure. He was 78. He is survived by wife, two sons and three daughters.
Bangarappa was diagnosed with lung infection which led to septicemia (bacteria in the blood that occurs with severe infections), which gradually infected all his vital organs. Bangarappa had diabetes and hypertension. He breathed his last at 12:30 am on Monday, according to a medical bulletin.
One of the most colourful politicians of Karnataka, his supporters and followers celebrated his 78th birthday on October 26 at Sorab taluk in Shimoga district in a grand manner. He had been complaining of breathlessness ever since his return to Bangalore from Soraba and was admitted to Mallya Hospital on December 7.
His wife Shakuntala, son Madhu, daughters Sujatha, Geetha and son-in-law and film star Shivarajkumar were in the hospital when he passed away. His eldest son Kumar Bangarappa is an actor and former minister. The body of Bangarappa was brought to his Sadashivnagar bungalow around 5 am.
The Karnataka government declared a holiday on Monday and a three-day mourning as a mark of respect for the leader who was widely known among his supporters as “Solilllada Saradara” (a leader who cannot be defeated). He earned this title not only for winning a series of elections in his political career spanning over four decades, but also for his “never-say-die” attitude in the life.
The last rites will be conducted with full State honours at Sorab town in Shimoga district on Tuesday. Before the last rites, the body will be taken to Kubatur, the native place of Bangarappa. The government has declared a holiday for schools and colleges in Shimoga district for Tuesday also. But the government offices will function as usual, according to an order.
The mortal remains of the leader were kept for the public to pay their respects at his Sadashivnagar residence till 3 pm and later taken to Shimoga by road. Many members of Bangarappa’s family, hundreds of his followers and a galaxy of leaders from all political parties, including Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, paid their respects to the departed leader.
Soon after the news of Bangarappa’s death spread, a large number of people reached Sadashivnagar from Shimoga and surrounding places. People had queued up early in the morning to pay the last respect to their leader.
During his political career, Bangarappa had emerged as a prominent leader of the backward classes. He was elected member of the Legislative Assembly six times and Member of Parliament for four times.
He was in the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party and Janata Dal(Secular). Twice he floated his own political outfits.
Before becoming chief minister in 1990 for 25 months, he had held many important portfolios.
He first became member of the Legislative Assembly in 1967. His first stint as minister was in 1977 when he took charge as minister of state for home and later became PWD minister.
In 1980, he was made revenue minister. Four years later he was opposition leader in Karnataka.
He then held the post of agriculture minister in 1989 and became chief minister between 1990 and 1992.
The controversy surrounding the Classick computer case, which was one of the reasons why he resigned as chief minister in 1992, haunted him for many years.
It was alleged that he had taken a kickback in purchasing computers and the case was probed by the CBI. But a designated special CBI court acquitted him in the case in 2002.
In 1996, he was elected to the Lok Sabha. He was re-elected in 1999 and again in 2003 but this time on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket.
He contested the Lok Sabha election once again in 2005 on a Samajwadi Party ticket.
After this, he quit the Samajwadi Party and again joined the Congress.
But he faced defeat twice in 2008 and 2009 in the State Assembly and parliamentary elections respectively against the BJP.
He again quit the Congress and joined the JD(S) in December 2010. He was actively campaigning for the JD (S) in the recently held elections.