Union Minister Ananth Kumar dies at 59

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar died at a private hospital In Bengaluru early on Monday after battling lung cancer for several months, hospital authorities said.

Kumar, 59, breathed his last around 2 am with his wife Tejaswini and two daughters by his bedside, Sankara Hospital Director Nagaraj told. He had come back to Bengaluru only recently after undergoing treatment in the US and Britain. He was later under treatment at the Sankara Hospital in Bengaluru.

BJP sources said the body of Kumar would be kept at the National College Ground, which falls in his Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency, for public homage. Kumar passed away from complications following cancer and infections, his party office said in a statement.

He had been on the ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit for the last few days, it said. A a six-time member of Parliament, Kumar had climbed the political ladder steadily from being an RSS worker to be the Union minister in his thirties.

Kumar had been in the inner circle of the central leadership of the BJP be it during the heydays of Atal Bihari Vajpayee or L K Advani and now Narendra Modi.

He joined the BJP in 1987 and never looked back, as he held posts of state secretary, state president of the Yuva Morcha, general secretary and national secretary. Along with state BJP chief Yeddyurappa, Kumar is among a few party leaders who can be credited for the growth of BJP in Karnataka, as they built the party and bringing it to power in 2008, making it the first saffron party government in the South. Kumar first got elected to Lok Sabha in 1996 from Bangalore South, the constituency, which remained his bastion till his passing away.

President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted his condolences and said that it was a tragic loss for the people of Karnataka.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled his death.