Senior BJP leader and Higher Education Minister V S Acharya passed away after suffering a massive heart attack during a function here on Tuesday. Acharya (72), who was not keeping well for some time, collapsed while participating in a seminar.
One of the senior-most figures of the ruling BJP, soft-spoken Acharya, a medical practitioner by profession, was respected by politicians cutting across party lines. He is survived by wife, four sons and a daughter. A member of the state Legislative Council, Acharya, born on July 6, 1939, in the coastal town of Udupi, also held the portfolios of Planning and Statistics, Muzrai, Information Technology and Biotechnology. He had served as Home Minister, state BJP vice-president and Udupi district BJP President.
The Cabinet held an emergency meeting and condoled the death, expressing profound grief. Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, who appeared visibly shaken by Acharya’s death, described him as his “political guru”, and a “spotless” leader. Fighting back tears, he said, “He is no more with us on Tuesday. But somehow, he (Acharya) will have to continue to guide us. I don’t know in which form or through whom otherwise politics in Karnataka will not emerge in a good way.”
BJP President Nitin Gadkari and party stalwart L K Advani, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman K Rehman Khan, Union Ministers S M Krishna and M Veerappa Moily were among those who paid rich tributes to Acharya. BJP said Acharya was instrumental in bringing the erstwhile Jana Sangh to power in Udupi Municipality in 1968, laying the foundation for the party rule in Karnataka.
The government declared a three-day mourning and a day’s holiday on Tuesday in Bangalore Urban, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts as mark of respect to Acharya.
Describing him as his “political guru”, a tearful Gowda on Tuesday paid rich tributes to Higher Education Minister V S Acharya who passed away here on Tuesday. Overcome with emotions and fighting back tears, Gowda termed the 71-year-old Acharya as a statesman, a man of integrity and a party loyalist. “He did not had a single black-mark in politics,” said the Chief Minister, his voice chocking.
“He is my political guru,” Gowda said, adding, Acharya’s guidance was responsible for his rise in politics and elevating him to this position (Chief Ministership) on Tuesday. The Chief Minister was so emotional after paying his last respects to Acharya in hospital that he remarked: “He is no more with us on Tuesday. But somehow, he (Acharya) will continue to guide us. I don’t know in which form or through whom. Otherwise politics in Karnataka will not emerge in a good way.”
Gowda who is preparing to present his first ever budget next month, recalled that Acharya had promised him to help in drafting a “good budget” devoting at least 10 days for the exercise. Gowda hailed Acharya, who also held the portfolios of Planning and Statistics, Muzrai and Information Technology and Biotechnology, for his in-depth knowledge of various issues and topics.
Acharya collapsed while attending a seminar, organised by the Karnataka State Government College Principals Forum, and rushed to a private hospital. He was keeping indifferent health in recent times.
A medical practitioner by profession, Dr Vedavyasa Srinivasa Acharya was a rare politician known for his integrity and public probity. Karnataka Higher Education Minister, who died after massive heart attack during a function here on Tuesday, became President of Udupi Municipality at the age of 28 in 1968, playing a key role in bringing the erstwhile Jana Sangh to power.
In later years, he became the Udupi district BJP President and State BJP President. During the Emergency in 1975-77 he was imprisoned under ‘MISA’ for 19 months. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1983.
A member of the Legislative Council at the time of his death, the soft-spoken Acharya also held the portfolios of Planning and Statistics, Muzrai, Information Technology and Biotechnology. Born on July 6, 1939 in Udupi, Acharya was President of the BJP Manifesto committee in 2008.
BJP stalwart L K Advani had often said the victory in Udupi more than four decades ago had laid a foundation for a BJP rule in south (Karnataka).