MeraNews Network, New Delhi: Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar died at a private hospital in Bengaluru early this morning. He was suffering from lung cancer for several months. The 59-year old BJP leader breathed his last around 2 AM. He had returned to Bengaluru only recently after undergoing treatment in the US and Britain. BJP sources said the body of Kumar will be kept at the National College Ground in Bengaluru for public homage. The National Flag will fly at half mast throughout the country today. A State funeral will be accorded to the departed leader. 

Ananth Kumar represented the Bengaluru South parliamentary constituency six times since 1996. He joined the BJP in 1987 and never looked back, as he held posts of the state secretary, state president of the Yuva Morcha, general secretary, and national secretary. 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 South India. He is survived by his wife and 2 daughters.

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed grief on the demise of Union Minister Ananth Kumar. In a tweet, Prime Minister Modi said, he is extremely saddened by the passing away of his valued colleague and friend. He said, Ananth Kumar was a remarkable leader, who entered public life at a young age and went on to serve society with utmost diligence and compassion. The Prime Minister said he will always be remembered for his good work. He said, Ananth Kumar Ji was an able administrator, who handled many ministerial portfolios and was a great asset to the BJP organization. PM Modi said, Ananth Kumar worked hard to strengthen the Party in Karnataka, particularly in Bengaluru and surrounding areas and he was always accessible to his constituents. The Prime Minister spoke to his wife, Dr. Tejaswini and expressed condolences. PM Modi said, his thoughts are with the entire family, friends, and supporters in this hour of grief and sadness.

In a tweet, President Kovind said, it is a tragic loss to public life in the country and particularly for the people of Karnataka. Expressing shock and pain on the demise of Union Minister Ananth Kumar, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, he was a seasoned parliamentarian who served the nation in several capacities and his passion and devotion for the welfare of people was commendable. The home minister said, his demise is a big loss for the BJP and a personal loss for him.

Expressing grief, BJP president Amit Shah said, Ananth Kumar served the national organization with unparalleled zeal and dedication and he worked tirelessly to strengthen the BJP in the state of Karnataka. He said, Ananth ji was a remarkable administrator who served various ministerial portfolios and his passing away has left a void in the BJP and Indian polity that cannot be filled soon. 
 
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu had expressed shock on the passing away of Union Minister Ananth Kumar. Speaking to media after returning from 3-day state visit to Paris, VP Naidu said, Ananth Kumar has been a colleague of him for years together, from students' movement to the Parliament. He said Ananth Kumar was a dedicated statesman. The Vice President said, Ananth Kumar was ill for some time, but he never expected that this will happen. He said everyone was hoping that he will recover and join back public service. VP Naidu conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the wife and children of Ananth Kumar.
 
Information and Broadcasting Minister Col Rajyavardhan Rathore has expressed grief on the passing away of Union Ananth Kumar. In a tweet, Col Rathore said, It is a tremendous loss to the party, Bengaluru, and India itself. Rathore said, his prayers and condolences are with the loved ones of Ananth Kumar in this tragic time. Former President Pranab Mukherjee said Ananth Kumar was a politician of the old school for whom differences were not acrimonious. He said Ananth Kumar will be missed across the political spectrum.