Union minister of state for railways and four-time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP) from Karnataka’s Belagavi constituency, Suresh Angadi, died of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Delhi on Wednesday evening. He was 65.
Angadi, a lawyer and education baron who rose through the ranks in the BJP after being appointed the vice-president of the party’s Belagavi district unit in 1996, is the fourth MP to succumb to the disease that has claimed around 90,000 lives in India. “Shri Suresh Angadi was an exceptional karyakarta, who worked hard to make the party strong in Karnataka. He was a dedicated MP and effective minister, admired across the spectrum. His demise is saddening. My thoughts are with his family and friends in this sad hour. Om Shanti,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.
The national flag will be flown at half mast on Thursday in government offices in Delhi due to Angadi’s demise, said a senior home ministry official.
Angadi announced on September 11 that he tested positive for the disease. He was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi soon after for treatment. Angadi is survived by wife Mangala, and daughters Spoorthi and Shraddha.
“Shocked to know the passing away of Shri Suresh Angadi, Union minister of state of railways. An amiable leader Shri Angadi worked tirelessly for the people of his constituency, Belagavi and Karnataka,” President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted.
Union railway minister Piyush Goyal said Angadi was like a brother. “Words fall short to describe his commitment & dedication towards the people. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this hour of need. Om Shanti,” Goyal tweeted.
“He will always be remembered for his selfless service to the nation and party. My deepest condolences are with his family. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti,” Union home minister Amit Shah tweeted.
BJP president JP Nadda also condoled the death. “Extremely saddened by the passing away of central minister Shri Suresh Angadi Ji. He was a remarkable leader who dedicated all his life for organisation and went on to serve society with utmost diligence and compassion,” he tweeted.
YSR Congress MP from Tirupati, Balli Durga Prasad Rao, Congress MP from Kanyakumari, H Vasanthakumar, and BJP Rajya Sabha MP, Ashok Gasti, have also died of Covid-19 so far.
A relatively late entrant to politics, Angadi was considered a BJP strongman from the Mumbai-Karnataka region of Karnataka and was instrumental in the BJP winning 25 of the state’s 28 seats in the 2019 general elections. He first won the Belagavi Lok Sabha seat in 2004 and remained undefeated. He was appointed the junior railways minister in 2019.
Angadi also ran a clutch of educational institutions under the Suresh Angadi Education Foundation including an engineering college, arts and commerce college, architecture college and international school.
His death was condoled by leaders across the political spectrum in Karnataka. Chief minister BS Yediyurappa expressed his shock and said Angadi was a “people’s leader”.
Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) chief, HD Deve Gowda, said Angadi was like a younger brother to him. “I feel terrible losing him. This is an unbearable loss to our nation,” he said.