Ananth Kumar was an activist, friends with all, fought to protect environment, he was beyond just a politician: BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai, friend for 30 years, speaks.
Bengaluru: Veteran BJP leader, union minister, Ananth Kumar died at the age of 59 at a private hospital in Bengaluru at 2 AM, today. He was suffering from lung cancer and died following multi-organ failure.
Ananth Kumar has been credited with many achievements in his life time, the biggest one being bringing BJP to power in Karnataka.
Karnataka's BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai, Ananth Kumar's friend for 30 years, opens up about the leader the nation has lost.
Start of political journey
"Ananth Kumar started his political journey from Hubballi, Karnataka. We were also college mates. We had fought together during the emergency. He was the general secretary of Student Action Committee. During 1976, we were charged with lathi and Ananth Kumar was arrested in front of my eyes. His public-political life started that day and he never looked back from then," said Bommai.
Friends with all
"He was impressed by independence activist Jayaprakash Narayan's ideology. Even when he was serving BJP, he followed the principles laid out by Jayaprakash Narayan. That's why he had friends in all parties."
On protecting land, water of the state
"He is the only leader in Karnataka, who represented the state in inter-state water-sharing issue effectively. He played an important role in forming Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal by discussing the matter with then national leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Even when SM Krishna was the chief minister of Karnataka, Ananth Kumar played an important role in raising the heights of Almatti dam. In fact, three years ago, when Telangana was formed as a separate state, Ananth Kumar put forth a strong argument with respect to Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal and made the Centre rule in favour of Karnataka. Thus, he has played a very important role in protecting the land and water of the state. Karnataka has lost an efficient representative."
"When we look into the departments handled by Ananth Kumar, from poverty eradication department to urban development to minister of chemicals and fertilizers, he has delivered his duties diligently and successfully."
Role in passing GST Bill
"Ananth Kumar had a knack with conducting parliamentary affairs. Especially the way he convinced members and got them to pass the GST bill in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha is really commendable. He put to use his friendship with members of other parties and convinced them."
"Ananth was a sensitive person. So, apart from politics, he has played an important role in getting midday meals to poor students not only in Karnataka, but also in Madhya Pradesh. This is a mirror to his social concern. He was also a lover of nature. Thus, he was not just a political leader, but he was beyond that. I have lost one of my close friends."
"The void created by Ananth Kumar's death cannot be fulfilled. So his ability to converse fluently in Hindi, his knowledge of national politics and friendship and good rapport with leaders of other parties and his ability of not losing balance even in difficult situations made him a leader of great stature."
"He had never forgotten that he was an activist. It is really rare to have a politician like him. I don't know if anyone can fill Ananth Kumar's place."
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Last Updated Nov 12, 2018, 3:51 PM IST