His last moments and words

Minister for Higher Education V S Acharya, who was known for not shirking his responsibilities, was active till the very end.

He was scheduled to inaugurate a seminar on ‘Reflection of constructive policies under 11th Plan period’ at 10.30 am, but could reach the venue — Government Science College — only by 12.40 pm.

Acharya was scheduled to fly from Mangalore to Bangalore on Monday evening, but he made it only on Tuesday morning. On his arrival at the venue, he apologised to G M Mahadeva Raju, the principal of Government Science College, for being late. He inspected a guard of honour presented by the college’s NCC volunteers and started walking towards the auditorium. Suddenly, he paused, apparently because of uneasiness. A bunch of reporters approached him for a soundbite. He told them he would speak to them after the function.

He then took small and shaky steps towards the Dr Raja Ramanna Seminar Hall. Before he could reach the stage, Acharya stopped again in the middle of the hall. At this juncture, K V Kodandaramaiah, former director of the Department of Collegiate Education, offered him a chair. The minister, however, said: “Illa, Naanu alle koodthini” (No, I’ll sit there), pointing at the stage. These were probably his last words. When he reached the stage, he could not walk up the single-decker platform on his own. His escorts came to his help, but Acharya did not have the energy to walk any further.

The college authorities then pulled a chair near the stage, made Acharya sit on it and offered him a cup of coffee. But he could not hold the cup and spilled the coffee on his white shirt. The organisers panicked, but Acharya’s escorts told them not to worry.

But as the minister’s condition worsened, the organisers removed his shoes and socks, and began rubbing his hands and feet, even as the principal called the ambulance, 108, at 12.50 pm. According to the principal, the ambulance authorities did not respond quickly.

It was then decided to rush Acharya by his car to the hospital. By 1 pm, he was taken out of the college and rushed to Mallige Nursing Home where he was declared dead. The Karnataka State Government College Principals’ Forum decided to call off the event soon after the news of Acharya’s death was confirmed.

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