A K Subbaiah, voice of the voiceless, passes away

A K Subbaiah, voice of the voiceless, passes away

A K Subbaiah interacting with Diddalli victims in 2017.

Well-known politician and social activist of Kodagu, Ajjakuttira Kariappa Subbaiah (A K Subbaiah) passed away at Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru on Tuesday. He was suffering from kidney-related ailments.

He is survived by five sons. Subbaiah’s spouse Dati Ponnamma had passed away in 2016. 

His final rites will be performed at Kallugundithota near Hudikeri on Wednesday. Prior to the same, Subbaiah’s mortal remains will be kept for public homage at his residence in Belluru the family sources said.

A long path traced

A K Subbaiah or simply AKS, as he is popularly recognised, was not only a politician but also a legal expert of high esteem. Known for his forthright nature, he criticised the wrong moves of all political parties.

Subbaiah was the only son of Ajjikuttira Kariappa and Chinnamma of Konageri village near Hudikeri in Virajpet taluk. He was born on August 9, 1934. From his young days, he had cultivated the habit of raising his voice against injustice.

A K Subbaiah started his teaching career in a school in Gejjehanagodu in Somwarpet taluk. He worked as a second division assistant in the health department for a short period, before taking up B Sc studies in Madikeri. He had lost against M C Nanaiah in the student council elections.

In 1963, he graduated in Law from Sharada Vilasa College in Mysuru in 1963 and began his career as a lawyer in Virajpet. In 1966, he got elected as the member of Legislative Council from Jan Sangha party. A K Subbaiah was known to be a hardcore activist and has conducted several campaigns towards the rights of the underprivileged. He also argued for them in court on many occasions.

He was imprisoned for 18 months during Emergency. He was the first one to be jailed in the state, for opposing the state of Emergency.

He was in the close circles of former prime minister late Atal Behari Vajpayee. Subbaiah accompanied Vajpayee whenever the latter visited the state.

Vajpayee had also visited the Virajpet residence of Subbaiah.

AKS played a pivotal role in establishing the Bharatiya Janatha Party in Karnataka. He had been associated with Jana Sangha, the parent organisation of BJP.

A K Subbaiah was the state president of BJP in 1984. Extensive campaigns were carried out under his leadership during the elections held for Assembly in the same year and 18 candidates from BJP including B S Yediyurappa and V S Acharya entered the Legislative Assembly for the first time. Subbaiah himself was elected to the Legislative Council four times, recalls Subbaiah’s close friend Manu Shenoy.

Following ideological differences between A K Subbaiah and Gundu Rao of Kodagu, no candidate was fielded from BJP in Somwarpet constituency in 1984. Instead, Subbaiah supported B A Jeevijaya who contested from Janatha party. The latter had won the elections.

Subbaiah was expelled from BJP in the same year. His expulsion created an outrage among his followers. Elaborate letters by Subbaiah written to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, regarding the clashes between BJP leaders in the state, have been published in the form of a book.

Consequences made Subbaiah turn into a staunch opposer of BJP in a due course of time. He eventually conducted anti-BJP and anti-Sangh Pariwar campaigns statewide.

In 1984, A K Subbaiah formed a regional party 'Kannada Nadu'. But the party could not flourish owing to financial drawbacks. He had been part of Congress and BSP for several years. While in Congress, his political and social activism scaled a new level, people who know him from close quarters say.


A K Subbaiah was mired in controversies. He had drawn the ire of fans of actor Rajkumar. There was a time when Subbaiah’s car used to be stoned by Raj fans. However, the issue got settled later.

He was in news in Kodagu for various reasons, with the most recent controversy related to Tipu Jayanti. He had supported the Siddaramaiah-led state government in observing Tipu Jayanti. This move of Subbaiah had angered the leaders of BJP and Hindu organisations.

Saviour of Diddalli victims' rights

In 2017, when people belonging to the tribal community were evacuated from the forest land of Diddalli in Kodagu, the evacuees literally came on to the streets in protest. A K Subbaiah fought for the rights of Diddalli victims and pucca houses are constructed in Basavanahalli and Byadagotta, owing to his efforts.

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