V Dhananjay Kumar, former Union minister and Congress leader, dies in Mangaluru (File Photo)
After a long-term illness, former Union Minister and Congress leader V Dhananjay Kumar on Monday breathed his last in Karnataka's Mangaluru following multi-organ failure. Kumar had been suffering from a kidney-related ailment and was in the city's Unity Hospital as he slipped into a coma in December 2018, according to a report published on The News Minute. The former BJP leader was 67 years old and survived by his wife Vanitha and two children Pavithra and Parinith. His remains will be kept at his Kadri residence and later will be taken to his hometown Venur, a small village on the banks of the Phalguni river in Belthangady Taluk, Dakshina Kannada of Karnataka.
"Karnataka: Former Union Minister V. Dhananjay Kumar passes away in Mangaluru after a prolonged illness," the news agency ANI reported.
Karnataka: Former Union Minister V. Dhananjay Kumar passes away in Mangaluru after a prolonged illness. pic.twitter.com/LgOledVhZ3— ANI (@ANI) March 4, 2019
Born in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district in 1951, Kumar was a lawyer by profession before his entry into politics. He secured his law degree in 1973 from a college in Udupi and practised in Mangaluru.
Kumar, a firm believer of RSS' Hindutva ideology, stepped into active politics back in 1983. His victory in 1983 Assembly Elections from Mangaluru constituency made him the first BJP MLA to win an election from Dakshina Kannada region. The Vajpayee-era Union minister was also one of the few BJP MPs, who were elected from south India, despite the Congress's stronghold in the region at that time. Kumar contested the Lok Sabha elections four times from Mangaluru - in 1991, 1996, 1998 and 1999.
In 1996, Dhananjay Kumar was appointed as the Union Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism. In the NDA government, he served as the portfolio of Union Minister of State for Finance between 1999-2000 and was given the portfolio of Union Minister of State for Textiles between 2000 and 2003.
In March 2014, Dhananjay switched to the JD-S before rejoining the BJP in 2015. There are also reports that the 4-time Mangaluru MP was expelled by the BJP following his hard-hitting criticisms against prominent figures, including LK Advani. However, in 2017, Dhananjay yet again jumped ship to the Congress after holding talks with party president Rahul Gandhi.