Thousands pay respects to Higher Education Minister V.S. Acharya3 min read
Manipal: Thousands of people thronged the District Commissioner’s (DC) office at Rajathadri on February 14, to pay their last respects to Dr. V.S. Acharya, Higher Education Minister of Karnataka and a native of Udupi, who had died of a heart-attack on the same day in Bangalore. He was 71 years old.
Dr. Acharya collapsed at 12:15 p.m., during a seminar at Government Science College in Bangalore. He was immediately taken to Mallige Hospital where he breathed his last. His body was kept at his Bangalore residence till 3 p.m. and was flown down to Mangalore via a special flight at 6 p.m. The body arrived in Manipal at 8 p.m. and was kept for final darshan till 9:15 p.m. at the DC Office. The premises were flooded with people who came to pay homage to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader. “There are roughly around six to seven thousand people who have come here and are being guarded by 300 police personnel from Mangalore and Udupi,” said M.B. Boralingaiah, Superintendent of Police, Udupi district.
Dr. Acharya was a resident of Udupi and a doctor by profession. He had held the portfolios of State Minister for Planning & Statistics, Muzrai (religious affairs), Information Technology and Biotechnology . He was also the Udupi district in charge. In 1968, he became the youngest person to become the Udupi Municipal President and continued his service to the district for 28 years. He is survived by his wife, four sons and a daughter.
D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Chief Minister of Karnataka said, “He was a person with clean political commitment and a man with extra calibre in his capacity and culture. He has given wonderful service to the state. We lost one great personality in Karnataka political era and will not find such a person in near future.” Talking to presspersons, Former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and a close associate of Acharya said, “He was a great administrator and very powerful during Vidhan Sabha debates, as he always expressed himself. He used to prepare the BJP state manifesto. His contribution is immense and this is a great loss for BJP.”
S. Suresh Kumar, State Minister for Law, Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs expressing his condolences told TMJ that Dr. Acharya had been a senior, friend, philosopher and guide to him and was a repository of knowledge in all the phases of his career. “I had referred him many times as the Pranab Mukherjee (current Finance Minister of India) of Karnataka, as he had that experience and knowledge in him. He was a decent politician till the end, which is a rarity in today’s politics,” he added. He also informed TMJ that it was too early to say who will take over as the Higher Education Minister.
K.S. Eshwarappa, BJP state President said, “No one expected this. In the cabinet, he was not only the eldest minister but a paragon to everyone. He never made any compromises anywhere. He lived his life following one principle and he has now left us to follow that. By that his soul will rest in peace.”
The function was attended by eminent state political leaders including those of the Congress. Speaking to TMJ, Pramod Madhwaraj, Younth Congress leader said, “He was a great statesman who rose above party and religious lines. He was an economist and an encyclopaedia in all fields. It is a great loss to everyone.”
The body was taken from DC office in a procession to perform the last religious rituals and rites. The body was then cremated in Beedinagudde, his native place in Udupi. The function was attended by a number of Manipal University (MU) officials including Dr. Ramdas Pai, Chancellor; Dr. H.S. Ballal, Pro Chancellor; Dr. G.K. Prabhu, Registrar; Varadesh Hiregange, Director of Manipal Institute of Communication (MIC) and Dr. M.V. Kamath, Honourable Director of MIC, among others.
The Karnataka government has declared a three-day mourning as a mark of respect to the leader and also a day’s holiday in all schools and colleges.
Sub-edited by: Vrinda Manocha