BELAGAVI: Amassive crowd thronged the tiny Bellad Bagewadi village, the home of Umesh Katti near Belagavi, to get the last glimpse of the leader before he was accorded a state funeral by the Basavaraj Bommai-led government late on Wednesday night at the Kattis’ farm in the village. The last rites were performed as per the Lingayat traditions.
The presence of leaders from all parties reflected his unfaded popularity. Several top leaders, including former chief ministers Siddaramaiah and BS Yediyurappa, JDS leader HD Revanna, most of the top Lingayat seers and other VIPs attended the funeral that was led by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and his cabinet colleagues.
Katti’s body that was brought to the Belagavi airport from Bengaluru on Wednesday afternoon was received by a large gathering of his supporters. Later, it was taken in a military vehicle decked up with flowers to Bellad Bagewadi.
Thousands of Katti’s supporters and family were inconsolable when the body arrived at the village. His mortal remains were kept at the Vishwaraj Sugar Factory for the people to pay their last respects.
Paying condolences to the bereaved family, Siddaramaiah hailed Katti as a leader who struggled to ensure the overall development of North Karnataka, while Bommai described him as a tall and able leader.
Tricolour to fly half-mast for 3 days, says Bommai
On his arrival at the village to attend the funeral of his friend and cabinet colleague, Bommai said the demise of a tall leader like Katti has pained him a lot. “I have come to take part in his last rites with a heavy heart,” he said. Announcing a three-day state mourning from September 7, Bommai said the Tricolour will fly half-mast in the state for three days and orders have been issued against holding any government programmes or events. However, emergency works, if any, will continue undisturbed, he clarified.
Tragedies in Katti family
Vishwanath Katti, former MLA from Hukkeri (earlier Janata Party), father of Umesh Katti, collapsed and died after a massive heart attack in the legislative Assembly when the session was on in 1985. His death necessitated a by-poll the same year which Umesh Katti won handsomely on the Janata Party ticket. Umesh Katti had polled 37,234 votes against 15,066 of his nearest rival SS Mahajanshetti of Congress in his first election from the Hukkeri Assembly segment.