Former Union Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Venur Dhananjay Kumar, breathed his last at a private hospital in Mangaluru Monday after a prolonged illness. He was 67 years old.
Mr Kumar leaves behind his wife, a son and a daughter.
“Former union minister Dhananjay Kumar is no more,” the state Congress, of which he was a member, said in a tweet.
A four-time Lok Sabha member, Mr Kumar served in various capacities in the Vajpayee government, holding the portfolios of civil aviation, finance and textiles, the latter two as minister of state.
His journey in the electoral politics had begun from 1983 when he first became a Member of Legislative Assembly from the Bharatiy Janata Party.
In 1991, he created a history of sorts when he defeated senior Congress leader Janardhana Poojary and since then was elected as Lok Sabha member of Mangaluru for four times consecutively.
During the BJP rule in Karnataka, he remained close to then chief minister Mr Yeddyurappa and made an exit from the party to join Karnataka Janata Party, a front started by his mentor rebelling against the BJP.
As the KJP became defunct with Mr Yeddyurappa coming back to his parent organisation BJP, Mr Kumar jumped to JD(S).
He made a comeback to the BJP in 2015, but joined the Congress in 2017.
In his condolence message, Mr Yeddyurappa tweeted, “I am deeply agonized with the demise of a seasoned politician, former union minister and my close associate. He had worked hard for the welfare of the state as a cabinet minister in the Vajpayee government. I am deeply anguished over losing a close friend. May his soul rest in peace.”
Condoling his death, Karnataka Congress prayed to God to give strength to Mr Kumar’s family, relatives, friends and his followers to bear the loss.