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Admirers throng Hegde's residence

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, JAN. 12. The news of the death of the former Chief Minister, Ramakrishna Hegde, stunned Bangalore and the State, though it was known that he was seriously ill for several months now.

People from all walks of life thronged his residence, "Kritika" on Old Tumkur Road in Rajamahalvilas Extension.

Politicians forgot their differences to pay their last respects. Among them was the former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, who recalled that he had fought many a battle along with Mr. Hegde.

His elder sister and mentor, Mahadevi Thayi, was inconsolable. Many in the concourse wept. Also present was his political associate of long standing, the former minister, V.S. Krishna Iyer.

The Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, was among the early callers. It may be recalled that the Chief Minister had released funds for the treatment of Mr. Hegde in Britain, a gesture, which was widely appreciated.

Among those gathered at Mr. Hegde's residence were professionals, writers, artistes, and others, though political leaders and workers stood out. Mr. Hegde had his admirers among all sections. There was a scramble when the body was brought to the living room of the residence and the police had to push back even some political leaders.

Both the Houses of the State Legislature adjourned their sittings once the news was received. The legislators rushed to the residence of Mr. Hegde. Although hailing from Uttara Kannada district, Mr. Hegde had been a resident of Bangalore since 1957. He had great concern and love for the city. As Chief Minister he had launched a programme to beautify it. The industrial policy adopted by his Government in 1986 had banned starting of new industries with the aim of easing the pressure on population. However, this policy was given the go by by the successor governments leading to runaway growth.

Perhaps his last major public function was when he attended a meeting to mourn the death of the former minister and All India Progressive Janata Dal (AIPJD) president, C. Byre Gowda, at Puttannachetty Town Hall some months ago.

His last interaction with the media was when he addressed them along with the AIPJD president, S.R. Bommai, and set terms for the merger of the JD faction with the JD(S). Mr. Hegde hardly spoke that day as he was by then in poor health. His elder daughter spoke on his behalf.

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