Mangaluru: Former Minister, V. Dhananjay Kumar, 67, breathed his last at a private hospital here after a prolonged illness on Monday. Mr Kumar, who hailed from Venur in Dakshina Kannada district, had served as minister of civil aviation in the Vajpayee government in 1996, as minister of state for finance in 1999-2000 and minister of state for textiles from 2000 to 2003.
A staunch RSS man, he brought Mangaluru Assembly constituency under BJP rule for the first time in 1983 by defeating sitting MLA, P.F. Rodrigues, but lost the next election in 1985. In 1989 he contested against sitting Mangaluru MP B. Janardhan Poojary and was defeated by about 91,000 votes. But he won against Poojary in 1991, giving BJP control of Mangaluru parliamentary constituency for the first time. The party has retained it since. He defeated Mr Poojary the second time in 1996 and again in 1998. Former CM Veerappa Moily too lost to him in 1999. But the firebrand lost popularity after he was denied a ticket in 2004.
Meanwhile, being a close associate of state BJP chief, B.S. Yeddyurappa, he was made the state's representative in Delhi during BJP rule. He went on to quit the party and join Mr Yeddyurappa when he left it to form the KJP and was made its president. Though Mr Yeddyurappa rejoined the BJP, Mr Kumar, who felt sidelined, joined JD(S) and contested from Udupi-Chikkamagalur constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll. But on losing, he knocked on the doors of Congress in 2017. But his health did not permit him to be actively involved with the party. His last rites will be performed in Venur on Tuesday.