MANGALURU: Former Union minister and four-time MP from the then Mangalore constituency (now Dakshina Kannada) V Dhananjay Kumar passed away at a private hospital here on Monday after prolonged illness. He was 67.
Kumar, who was admitted to the hospital over a kidney problem, had slipped into coma last December. He is survived by his wife Vanitha and two children — Pavithra and Parinith.Born in Venur of Belthangady taluk in 1951, he graduated in law from a college in Udupi. As a student, he was an active member of the RSS and ABVP. He was first elected as MLA from Mangalore constituency (now Mangaluru South) at a young age of 32 in 1983.
In 1991, he successfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from Mangalore seat defeating Congress veteran and former union minister B Janardhan Poojary thereby making himself one of the first BJP MPs to be elected from the whole of south India.
He continued his victory streak in the next three elections (1996, 1998 and 1999).As a second-time MP, he was made a minister for civil aviation and tourism in the Vajpayee government. From 1999-2000, he was minister of state for finance and from 2000-2003 minister of state for textiles.
A close associate of BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa, Kumar was his man friday when the former was the chief minister from 2008-2011.Kumar followed Yeddyurappa when he quit BJP and founded KJP. He came back to BJP with Yeddyurappa after sometime. Kumar’s political graph saw a decline in 2012 when he is said to have criticised party veteran L K Advani.
In 2014, he joined JD(S) but returned to BJP within a year. Later, in 2017, he joined Congress. But his deteriorating health kept him away from active politics.
Kumar’s mortal remains will be kept at his residence in Kadri-Kambala from 7 am to 10 am on Tuesday after which it will be taken to Venur for the final rites.Meanwhile, leaders cutting across political parties condoled the death of Kumar.
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy tweeted: “I am deeply saddened to hear the demise of former union minister V Dhananjay Kumar. I will pray for his eternal peace and to give strength to his family to bear the grief.”
Deputy CM G Parameshwara, MP Shobha Karandlaje, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, Leader of Opposition in the Council Kota Srinivas Poojary, Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari D Veerendra Heggade and MLA Vedavyas Kamath also condoled Kumar’s death.