Senior politician K.B. Shanappa succumbs to COVID-19

K.B. Shanappa. File.  

Former Minister and Rajya Sabha member K.B. Shanappa, 83, passed away at District General Hospital attached to Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) at about 3.30 p.m. on Sunday. He had tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to the State-run hospital after he developed complications a few days ago. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and two sons.

Born at a Dalit family in Ravoor village, Chittapur taluk in Kalaburagi district, in 1938, Mr. Shanappa grew as a communist leader and was associated with the Communist Party of India (CPI). He had led many workers’ struggles, especially those at ACC cement factory and Shahabad cement factory in Kalaburagi district. He had contested 1985 Assembly Elections from Shahabad (reserved for SC) constituency as a CPI candidate and won it with a slender margin of just 75 (0.13%) votes against his nearest rival Gurunath Chandram, an Independent candidate, who polled 16,188 votes.

Mr. Shanappa later joined Janata Dal and took on Congress heavyweight M. Mallikarjun Kharge in Gurmitkal (reserved for SC) constituency in the 1994 Assembly elections. He lost the race to Mr. Kharge with a margin of 19,336 votes (26.68%). Mr. Kharge had polled 42,588 votes (56.70%) of the polled votes. He was later taken into the J.H. Patel Cabinet as the Excise Minister where he served for six months. He had to lose the cabinet berth as he could not become the Member of the Legislative Council within the stipulated time.

In 2004, he joined BJP and worked for the party for 15 years. Two years after joining the saffron party, he was elected to Rajya Sabha in 2006. He was later nominated to the Karnataka Legislative Council in 2012 and remained its member till 2018. He quit the saffron party and joined Congress in 2019 ahead of Lok Sabha elections and extensively campaigned in the Gulbarga Lok Sabha constituency for Congress candidate M. Mallikarjun Kharge.

A voracious reader, Mr. Shanappa was considered to be a rare intellectual in the political circles of the Kalyana Karnataka region. He has authored a novel, Anantha, which narrates the story of a poor labourer leading labourers’ struggle for their just rights and emerging as a leader of deprived classes. Some of the critics opine that the fiction was based on the real-life events of the author.

At a recent press conference in Kalaburagi, Mr. Shanappa said that his association with BJP was the biggest mistake of his life and he would have to continue to regret it till his death.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 12:21:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/senior-politician-kb-shanappa-succumbs-to-covid-19/article34520646.ece

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