Senior Congress leader and sitting MLA of Devadurga, A Venkatesh Naik (Photo: Twitter)
Raichur: Senior Congress leader and sitting MLA of Devadurga, A Venkatesh Naik was a noble politician who died in a railway accident near Madakasira railway gate in Anantapur district. Naik was travelling to Raichur from Bengaluru in Nanded express.
He is survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters.
Naik was one of the rare politicians who rose virtually from "Halli to Delhi".
Born on June 6, 1936 at Arakere village in Devadurga, Naik entered politics through local body elections in 1968.
Naik had also served as Devadurga Congress Committee President for two terms and Raichur district Congress Committee for one term. He was also APMC director and Zilla Parishad member before entering national politics. Later, he was elected to Lok Sabha for the first time from Raichur constituency in 1991.
He lost the constituency to Raja Rangappa Naik of Janata Dal in 1996 Lok Sabha polls.
Naik suffered a political setback when he lost against his grand son Shivangouda Naik in the 2008 Assembly elections. The defeat by his grandson severely dented his image and he was denied Congress ticket in 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
In 2013 Assembly polls, Naik avenged the humiliation by defeating his grandson who contested from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at Devadurga constituency by a margin of 3700 votes.
Naik also played a pivotal role in earning a thin-margin victory for his son and Congress candidate B.V. Naik against Shivangouda Naik in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in Raichur constituency.
"In the accidental death of Mr Naik, people have lost a politician who was known for his simplicity, humility and affable manner. Though Mr Naik was in power for a long time but at no point of time did he behave with arrogance with people or party workers. His message to the people was that the responsibility of electing good or bad politician rests with them and they should conscientiously exercise their power", recalled senior Congress leader and Raichur District Congress Committee President A. Vasanthkumar.
Body of Naik was kept for public view at the DCC office in Raichur. Various leaders and large number of party workers paid their last respects. Later, the body was taken to his native village Arikera, where he would be cremated in the evening.