News Karnataka
Saturday, April 01 2023

Sushma Swaraj’s Ballari days’ host, doctor passes away

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Ballari: Noted cardiologist and Ballari district Akhil Bharat Brahmana Mahasabha president, B. K Srinivasa Murthy passed away on Thursday due to age-related issues in Bengaluru.

Announcing the news of Murthy’s death, on his Twitter account, Social Welfare minister, B. Sreeramulu said that Murthy was a soft spoken and he was popularly known to people of Ballari as “BKS Doctor”.

“His death is a personal loss to me. Last year we lost our mother Sushma (Swaraj), this year our BKS doctor,” he told the media.

He further added that Sushma Tayee used to fly down to Ballari to take part in Varamahalakshmi pooja and that pooja used to be held in BKS Doctor’s house. “She came here 12 years and whenever she came she stayed at the doctor’s home,” he recalled.

Cardiologist Murthy had a very close relationship with late external affairs minister and BJP veteran leader, Sushma Swaraj ever since she contested in a high profile electoral battle against then AICC president, Sonia Gandhi in 1999, which was then touted as Swadeshi vs Videshi electoral battle.

Though, Swaraj, then 47 years old, lost her electoral battle, but she had made Ballari her destination every year until 2012, when she would fly down for the Varamahalaksmi puja (puja performed to propitiate Goddes Lakshmi). And this pooja used to be held annually in Murthy’s residence.

During her visits to Ballari, Sushma never used to stay in a hotel. She preferred to stay in the house of Murthy, a cardiologist. Recalling his association with the BJP leader in one of his interviews, Murthy had told that he got to know her by chance.

“During one of her poll campaigns in 1999, she felt tired and I was called by the BJP to treat her. After I checked her up she asked me whether it would be alright if she shifts from the hotel to my place. And for the next 15 days, she became part of the family and the association continued over the years,” an emotional Murthy had told to media when Swaraj had passed away on August 9, 2019.

He had also recalled that during the stay, Sushma took a liking to the north Karnataka cuisine and Ballari’s guntapongalu or paddu pongalu (variant of a idli).

“She would return from the campaign late in the night and we would all be waiting to have dinner with her. Even after becoming the Union Minister she kept in touch with my family and used to send gifts. My family and I had visited New Delhi a month ago to see her,” Murthy had said.

During the 1999 poll, the BJP gave the responsibility of poll management to the mining barons, the Reddy brothers and their aide, now Social Welfare minister B. Sriramulu.

She came to be known as their Sushma Tayee (mother/godmother) as the photo of her placing her hand on the heads of controversial mining baron, former BJP minister G. Janardhana Reddy and Sriramulu kneeling on either side of her went viral those days.

However, in later years when Reddy was arrested by the CBI in mining offences, she distanced herself from them and also stopped visiting Ballari from 2012.

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