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AIPJD State unit chief Nage Gowda dead

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, FEB. 5. The President of the State unit of the All-India Progressive Janata Dal (AIPJD), K.N. Nage Gowda, who had gone to New Delhi for consultations with leaders of like-minded parties, died of a heart attack today.

He had left for Delhi on Tuesday along with AIPJD and Janata Party leaders in a private aircraft owned by the Rajya Sabha member and Janata Party Working President, Vijay Mallya.

Family sources told The Hindu that Mr. Nage Gowda, who had turned 60 on February 1, complained of chest pain at 8.45 a.m. Officials at the Karnataka Bhavan, where he was staying, rushed him to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences. But he died on the way. Mr. Nage Gowda is survived by his wife, a daughter, and a son.

The AIPJD and Janata Party leaders who accompanied Mr. Nage Gowda on the Delhi trip said he had complained of uneasiness aboard the aircraft on Tuesday. He remained confined to his room most of Wednesday saying he was ill.

Several Janata Parivar leaders from the State, including the AIPJD President, S.R. Bommai, the former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) President, H.D. Deve Gowda, the State unit President of the Janata Dal (Secular), Siddaramaiah, and several AIPJD MLAs who were in Delhi in connection with discussions on electoral alliances, rushed to the hospital on hearing the news of Mr. Nage Gowda's death. The body was brought to Bangalore on an Indian Airlines flight.

The Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, who was instrumental in Mr. Nage Gowda's appointment as Chairman of the Mysore Sugar Company during Mr. Krishna's tenure as the Industries Minister, placed a wreath on the body at the airport. Senior AIPJD leaders including the Floor Leader of the party in the Legislative Assembly, B. Somashekar, the former Ministers, H.N. Nanje Gowda and V.S. Krishna Iyer, the former Chairman of the Bangalore Development Authority, L.R. Shivarame Gowda, and the President of Bangalore city unit of the AIPJD, R.V. Harish, were present.

Cremation at Malavalli

Family sources said the body would be taken in a procession to the AIPJD office here on Friday to enable the public to pay tributes. Later, it will be taken to his hometown of Malavalli for cremation.

Mr. Nage Gowda, who was a civil engineer by qualification, became interested in politics at a young age. After a stint as President of the Mandya district unit of the Congress in the 1970s, he was elected to the Legislative Council twice, in 1982 and 1988. He was the Minister of State for Animal Husbandry in the Veerappa Moily Government. In the company of the former Chairman of the Legislative Council, D.B. Kalmankar, Mr. Nage Gowda displayed parliamentary skills. He was the Congress Chief Whip in the Council prior to his appointment as a minister.

After being denied re-nomination to the Legislative Council by the Congress, Mr. Nage Gowda joined the Janata Dal in 1994 with the support of Mr. Deve Gowda. He was elected to the 10th Legislative Assembly from Kirigavalu Assembly constituency in Mandya district.

Nr. Nage Gowda, who had knowledge of the riparian disputes related to the Cauvery and Krishna rivers, was appointed Minister for Major and Medium Irrigation in the J.H. Patel Cabinet in June 1996. He chose to be with Mr. Patel and became a member of the Janata Dal (United) after the Janata Dal split. In recent days, Mr. Nage Gowda ruled out a merger with the Janata Dal (Secular) unless it was on equal terms.

After the death of C. Byre Gowda, late Ramakrishna Hegde selected Mr. Nage Gowda as the AIPJD President. After assuming office, Mr. Nage Gowda toured the State extensively and earned the respect of the party leaders and workers.

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