Ananth Kumar: 6-time MP loses 9-month battle to cancer

Public pay last respect to Union Fertilizer & Chemicals, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar at his residence. (DH Photo/Janardhan B K)

Union Fertilizers & Chemicals, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar died at 1.52 am on Monday at a private hospital in Bengaluru after battling Adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that affects the lungs. He was 59 and had represented Bangalore South since 1996, winning six times on the trot.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the sea of grief-stricken people who thronged M N Krishna Rao Road in Basavanagudi, where Kumar’s home-cum-office is located, and paid his last respects. Governor Vaju Bhai Vala, Karnataka BJP president B S Yeddyurappa and Union Minister J P Nadda accompanied the prime minister.

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Modi called him “an able administrator” and “a great asset” for the BJP. “He worked hard to strengthen the party in Karnataka, particularly in Bengaluru and surrounding areas. He was always accessible to his constituents,” he tweeted.

The prime minister spent 10 minutes at Ananth Kumar’s house and consoled the family members. The condolence letter was handed over to the family members by Union Health Minister J P Nadda.

Prior to Modi’s visit, public viewing was halted at Ananth Kumar’s house, where a huge crowd had gathered. The police had a tough time controlling the crowd. BJP national president Amit Shah and other senior BJP national leaders are expected to attend Ananth Kumar’s cremation on Tuesday.

Ananth Kumar, one of the chief architects of BJP’s growth in Karnataka, was battling cancer for the past several months. He underwent treatment in London and New York, before being admitted to the Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital in the city.

As a mark of respect, the state government declared mourning till November 14, during which the national flag will fly at half-mast on all government buildings and with no official entertainment programmes.

Ananth Kumar and his wife Tejaswini successfully ran Adamya Chetana, a nonprofit organisation. Grieving, Tejaswini stood with folded hands as people queued up to see Kumar’s body one last time in their house. Leaders cutting across party lines visited Kumar’s residence to pay their respects.

On Tuesday, Kumar’s mortal remains will be kept for public viewing at the BJP headquarters in Malleswaram from 8 am till 10 am. The body will be shifted to National High School grounds in Basavanagudi and kept there till 12.30 pm. Kumar will be cremated at the Chamarajpet crematorium at 1pm.

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Ananth Kumar: 6-time MP loses 9-month battle to cancer

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