Union Minister Ananth Kumar’s body, which has been taken to his Basavangudi residence, will be kept for public viewing at the National College Grounds from 10 am onwards on Tuesday. The funeral will be held at Chamarajpet on Tuesday around 1 pm, former deputy minister R Ashoka said.
The state government has declared three-day mourning and a holiday to government employees and schools and colleges today. The national flag will fly at half mast in the state capital.
Surgical oncologist Dr B S Srinath who heads Shankara Hospital said that Kumar was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in the month of June. “After his diagnosis in Bengaluru, he was taken to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, . where he was treated. He, however, failed to respond to the treatment, following which was brought back to Bengaluru and kept on life support,” he added.
Incidentally, Kumar’s wife Tejwaswini is one of the trustees of the Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation. Kumar began his political career as an Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leader. After serving various positions in ABVP like the state secretary and later national secretary in 1985, he decided to walk in the bigger ground of politics by joining the BJP in 1987.
He was elected as the State Secretary of the ABVP and later became its National Secretary in 1985. Kumar was well-connected in the BJP and was close to the top brass in the central leadership. He was once considered the “blue-eyed boy” of former former deputy prime minister L K Advani. He nurtured his constituency well and could identify with most of the party workers by their first names.
He climbed the political ladder in the BJP from the grassroots and nurtured an ambition of becoming Chief Minister of Karnataka, which he almost achieved, if not for circumstances. A six-term MP representing Bengaluru South constituency in the Lok Sabha… continuously since 1996, Ananth Kumar never tasted electoral defeat and has the distinction of being the first person to speak in Kannada in the United Nations.