Remembering Suresh Angadi, The Gentleman Politician From Karnataka

Remembering Suresh Angadi, The Gentleman Politician From Karnataka

by M Raghuram - Thursday, September 24, 2020 07:02 PM IST
Remembering Suresh Angadi, The Gentleman Politician From KarnatakaPrime Minister Narendra Modi with Suresh Angadi.
  • Suresh Angadi’s development initiatives were admired across party lines, and his death is a big loss to not just his party but also the country.

Four-time Member of Parliament (MP), known for his ‘simple living and high thinking’, Suresh Angadi, Union Minister of State for Railways will be remembered as India’s ‘quiet yet effective’, honest and ‘no nonsense’ politician.

His untimely death on Wednesday (23 September 2020) has left a void in the socio-political milieu, is a loss to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and to the country.

The gentle disposition of Angadi was admired by not just his partymen but also across party lines in the Karnataka-Maharashtra border district.

His adept articulation of the socio-political issues that has dogged this region, like that of language and religion, won the support of parties, groups and individuals opposed to his own party in matters of development of the region.

This was prominently demonstrated in the development of Belagavi Airport and the expansion of railway network not just in Belagavi but across North Karnataka.

Forging Unity

Ever since he became the MP of Belagavi, hostilities between the Marathi-Kannada language groups had reduced. The groups and political outfits, supporting Maratha dominance in Belagavi, had extended their full co-operation to Angadi in forging unity in the region.

Emerging Leader Of North Karnataka

Being a tall leader of the Lingayat community, Angadi was a trusted confidante of former chief minister of the state Jagadish Shettar and the present Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.

Had he survived the coronavirus attack, he would have scaled new heights in his political life. A major section of the Lingayat community had already accepted him as their future leader.

Great Support At The Centre Too

A die hard follower of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Angadi was an entrepreneur and businessman before he joined politics. He was one of the parliamentarians who had clocked the highest attendance in his four terms.

Angadi had formidable support at the Delhi level. Mentored by senior Karnataka politicians like former home minister late Dr V S Acharya, Angadi was into the mould of socially astute and upright politicians like late Pramod Mahajan, and Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu and Prahlad Joshi.

At the peak of workers’ exodus from North Karnataka due to Covid-19, Angadi, who was just six months old in the Railways Ministry, had marshalled the national transporter to seamlessly move over 50 lakh labourers from North Karnataka region to Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for which he received accolades even from his political critics.

The people of North Karnataka will forever remember Angadi for the proactive role he played in the construction of three major railway lines connecting North Karnataka.

The 189 kilometres Hubli-Ankola line, which was languishing for the last 30 years due to environmental concern, got environmental clearance.

The Kudachi-Bagalkot and Shikaripura-Ranebennur lines have been cleared by the Railways Ministry under the guidance of Angadi, the North Karnataka Railway activists recall.

He is also known to have been the main architect behind a new train service between Bengaluru-Belagavi.

Despite several heated arguments by the railway activists of North Karnataka, Angadi was always seen keeping his calm during the public hearings held at Belagavi on several railway projects.

His one dream was to connect the 80 km Talguppa-Honnavar line which had been put on hold for environmental reasons, and which sadly remains unfulfilled.

Angadi was a great patron of cricket. During the organisation of Belagavi Premier league, he had played a leading role in facilitating the tournament. Karnataka cricketers Dodda Ganesh and Sunil Joshi remember him fondly.

Despite being a leader from the Lingayat community he had garnered a great deal of support from Marathi speaking people, progressive minorities and religious groups.

He was so warm-hearted that even when he was suffering due to Covid, and just 22 minutes before he died, he had wished State Minister Govind Karjol, who was also quarantined for Covid, a speedy recovery through a tweet.

Young politicians, who have worked with him, like Ananth Kumar Hegde, Nalin Kumar Kateel (both MPs), Uday Kumar Shetty, Uttara Kannada district BJP president, remember him as a great leader to follow.

“I have imbibed many good qualities from him. When I became State BJP president I looked up to him for guidance and support,” Kateel said.

Raghuram hails from coastal Karnataka and writes on communal politics.

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