Veteran BJP leader Rama Bhat Passes Away
Mangaluru: Urimajalu K. Rama Bhat, former MLA, who had laid a strong foundation for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in coastal Karnataka, passed away at his residence in Kombettu near Puttur on Monday. Bhat was 92 and died of age-related illness.
A staunch follower of RSS ideology, Bhat was inspired by Bharatiya Jan Sangha leader Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. He first won the Puttur Assembly constituency in 1977 just after the emergency as a Janata Party candidate and in 1983, as a BJP candidate.
Bhat had close ties with BJP leaders A.B. Vajpayee and L.K. Advani and strengthened the party in the coastal region. His words used to be the final in the selection of candidates until 2008.
Following denial of ticket to Shakuntala K. Shetty to contest the Assembly polls from Puttur and choosing Nalin Kumar Kateel as the candidate for Lok Sabha elections, he floated Swabhimani Vedike. Bhat also unsuccessfully contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
He also ensured the Sangh Parivar had his hold in the cooperative sector and had been the President of CAMPCO and nurtured the Vivekananda Vidyavardhaka Sangha, Puttur. During the emergency, Bhat reportedly taught the Kannada language to Advani while in the Bengaluru Central Jail.