K.S. Sudarshan, who needled the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other BJP leaders during his nine-year tenure as RSS chief, died here on Saturday following heart attack. He was 81.

He was in the city for a book launch function.

A known votary of ‘swadeshi’, Kuppahalli Sitaramayya Sudarshan differed with the economic policies of the BJP-led government for its continuance of the liberalisation programme started in 1991.

He became the RSS head in 2000 when the NDA was in power.

Controversies

After the fall of the Vajpayee government, the former RSS chief had said in an interview that he did not consider Mr. Vajpayee among the “best prime ministers” as he had failed to do anything on the Ayodhya issue.

He had also stirred the hornets’ nest by suggesting that old guards like Mr. Vajpayee and L.K. Advani should give way to younger leadership.

Mr. Sudarshan, a bachelor, went for morning walk and suffered heart attack while doing Pranayam in his chamber in the RSS office here, doctors said.

He is survived by a brother and sister.

Born on 18 June, 1931 in Raipur, Mr. Sudarshan did his Bachelor of Engineering in Telecommunications.

He had served as RSS Pracharak for six decades. Mr. Sudarshan became its Sarsanghachalak (chief) in 2000 succeeding Rajju Bhaiya.

He stepped down from the post due to poor health.

Physical training

A native of Kuppahalli village in Mandya District of Karnataka, Mr. Sudarshan was known among the Sangh workers for his physical training.

During his nine-year tenure, he stressed on economic sovereignty and construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

In August, he briefly went missing during his morning walk in Mysore.