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Kannada writer passes away

Bangalore, Aug. 22: Acclaimed Kannada writer U.R. Ananthamurthy, who had said he would not want to live in India if Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, passed away today after prolonged illness. He was 82.

He had been suffering from renal, cardiac and lung ailments for a long time and was admitted to Manipal Hospital here 10 days ago. Ananthamurthy is survived by wife Esther, son Sharat and daughter Anuradha.

Chief minister P.C. Siddaramaiah has declared a public holiday tomorrow to mourn the passing of one of the most popular Kannada writers. He said the funeral would be held tomorrow with full state honours.

Although unwell, Ananthamurthy had been following his daily routine of reading, writing and meeting friends at his Bangalore home till he was admitted to hospital.

During the Lok Sabha election campaign, he had come out to support former Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani, the Congress candidate for Bangalore South.

A staunch critic of the BJP, Ananthamurthy had courted controversy by declaring last September that he wouldn’t want to live in India if Modi became Prime Minister.

But he clarified in April this year, during the Lok Sabha elections, that he had been “overcome by emotion” while making the remark and had no plans to leave his motherland. The state BJP has expressed condolences to the writer’s family.

Among his major works are the novels Samskara (Ritual), Avasthe (Predicament) and Baraa (Drought). He received the Jnanpith Award in 1995.