Tamil Nadu

Congress MP Vasanthakumar succumbs to COVID-19

He was the younger brother of former Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president Kumari Anandan and the uncle of Telangana Governor and former BJP Tamil Nadu president Tamilisai Soundararajan.

Mr. Vasanthakumar was elected to the Tamil Nadu Assembly from Nanguneri in 2006 and 2016. He resigned from the Assembly in 2019 to contest in the Lok Sabha election from Kanniyakumari where he won against Pon. Radhakrishnan of the BJP by 2.59 lakh votes.

Mr. Vasanthakumar was one of the working presidents of the TNCC and one of the ‘richest’ candidates to contest in the Lok Sabha election, declaring assets worth ₹412 crore. He started his career working for the VGP brothers, selling transistors, before launching his own venture in 1978, Vasanth & Co, to sell home appliances. Always seen wearing the badge ‘Vetri Nichchayam’ (victory is sure), he motivated youngsters to work hard to come up. He also popularised the concept of EMI that became a hit among the poor and the middle class.

“He used to say that coming from a village to Chennai, he could earn each day’s livelihood only if he was able to sell 50 Murphy transistors. From that stage, he created such a big business empire. God has not given him an opportunity to enjoy that. He also has the record of asking the maximum number of questions in Parliament,” TNCC president K.S. Alagiri said.

An ardent fan of former Chief Minister K. Kamaraj, Mr. Vasanthakumar, when he was an MLA, created ‘evening schools’ in more than 100 villages for conducting special coaching classes for children from poor families. He also launched interest-free loan schemes for hawkers and pavement vendors.

He was vociferous in his demands for his constituency in the Assembly and repeatedly sought the establishment of a Special Economic Zone at Nanguneri. He also had the Lok Sabha in splits while making demands for the Kanniyakumari constituency.

In his condolence message, President Ram Nath Kovind said Mr. Vasanthakumar, an entrepreneur and social activist, earned his name in the world of politics and business. His devotion to people’s cause in Tamil Nadu was inspiring.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member P. Chidambaram expressed condolences on Twitter.

Mr. Modi said, “Saddened by the demise of Lok Sabha MP H. Vasanthakumar Ji. His strides in business and social service efforts were noteworthy. During my interactions with him, I always saw his passion towards Tamil Nadu’s progress.”

“The news of Kanyakumari MP, H Vasanthakumar’s untimely demise due to Covid-19 has come as a shock. His commitment to the congress ideology of serving the people will remain in our hearts forever. Heartfelt condolences to his friends and family members,” Mr. Gandhi said.

Mr. Chidambaram said all Congress workers were deeply distressed and saddened by the death of the MP. “He was a devoted Congress worker and always a bundle of energy and enthusiasm. He contributed immensely to the welfare of his constituents both as MLA and as MP,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 6:59:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/congress-mp-vasanthakumar-succumbs-to-covid-19/article32469824.ece

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