The Parliamentary Affairs and Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister had not been keeping well, Ministry officials said.
BENGALURU: Union Minister and senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar died at a hospital in Bengaluru this
morning. He was 59. Ananth Kumar was suffering from cancer and had returned from the US last month
after treatment in New York.
The minister’s wife Tejaswini and two daughters were with him in his last moments. His body will be
kept at National College grounds in Bengaluru for last respects.
Karnataka has announced three-day state mourning and all schools, colleges and offices are closed
Ananth Kumar was one of the few ministers to have also served in the earlier BJP-led government led by
Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In fact, he was the youngest minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet in
1998 and was minister for Civil Aviation, Tourism, Sports, Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation.
The six-time MP from Karnataka was the first person to speak in Kannada in the United Nations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as a remarkable leader, an able administrator and a great
asset to the BJP.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said Mr Kumar was a “friend beyond politics” and a value-based
politician. “Our families had a friendship beyond politics. He always valued and had given priority to
friendship. I have lost a great friend in his death,” the chief minister added.
A graduate in Arts and Law, Mr Kumar was associated with the Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad
(ABVP), a student organisation of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), before joining the BJP in
As a student activist, he was also jailed along with other ABVP leaders during the Emergency of 1975.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996. In 1998, he became the youngest member of the Vajpayee cabinet
and he returned as minister in 1999.
In 2003, he became the BJP’s Karnataka chief. The party won the highest number of seats in the assembly
and the Lok Sabha under his stewardship.
The parliamentarian from south Bengaluru constituency held charge of two ministries in the Narendra
Modi government — Chemicals and Fertilisers since May 2014 and Parliamentary Affairs since July 2016.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the death of the minister.
“Extremely saddened by the passing away of my valued colleague and friend, Shri Ananth Kumar Ji. He was
a remarkable leader, who entered public life at a young age and went on to serve society with utmost
diligence and compassion. He will always be remembered for his good work,” PM Modi tweeted.
Union Minister DV Sadananda Gowda expressed grief over his death. “Shocked, it’s unbelievable. My
friend, brother Ananth Kumar is no more,” he wrote.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also expressed sorrow over his death. “Deep sense of grief on
hearing that Shri Ananth Kumar is no more with us. Served BJP all along. Bengaluru was in his head and
heart, always. May God give his family the strength to bear with this loss,” she tweeted.
Opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal have also expressed their