One of Karnataka’s most prominent farmers’ leader and MLA KS Puttannaiah died of a cardiac arrest late on Sunday night. He collapsed after complaining of chest pain while watching a kabaddi match at Sir M Visvesvaraya District Stadium in Mandya. He was rushed to the Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences where doctors confirmed his death at 10:55 pm.
The Karnataka Sarvodaya Paksha (KSP) legislator represented Melkote in the state assembly, having been elected in 2013.
"By creating the Sarvodaya Party and being elected to the Vidhana Sabha from Melkote, he fought for the rights of farmers both in and out of the assembly. We are deeply saddened to hear of his passing and we wish god gives his family the strength to bear this great loss", said Sachin Meega, President of Farmers Wing of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC)
KS Puttannayya, charismatic farmers leader and sitting MLA of Swaraj India from Karnataka passed away this evening. Farmers movements all over the country will miss this rare bridge between farmers' struggles of the previous and the current generation.— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) February 18, 2018
Rest in peace.
Shocked to learn about the demise of #SwarajIndia Melukote (Karnataka) MLA KS Puttannaiah. A visionary and charismatic farmer leader, his passing will be a great loss to farmers. May his soul rest in peace and may the family have strength to bear this irreplaceable loss. pic.twitter.com/6INh707eZl— Avik Saha (@aviksahaindia) February 18, 2018
Puttanaiah was born on December 23, 1949, at Kyathanahalli village in Mandya district. He attended St. Philomena College and D. Banumaiah College in Mysuru and completed a BA degree from the latter institution.
He entered politics in August 1983 as a karyakarta of the Karnataka Raitha Sangha and remained a prominent leader of the farmers’ group until his death. He was often in the forefront of issues involving the rights of coolies, women welfare and farmers. He rose to become the President of the Karnataka Raitha Sangha for Pandavapura taluk and then for Mandya district.
In 1999, he became the President of Karnataka Raitha Sangha and continued to serve as its president till 2012, carrying forward various farmer movements in the state.
While he was first elected to the state assembly from Pandavapura constituency in 1994 as an independent candidate, he lost three assembly elections from Pandavapura, and once from Mandya in Lok Sabha elections.
His knowledge on multiple inter-state water disputes including the Cauvery issue between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and his eagerness to solve the woes of farmers earned him recognition as a pro-people leader.
He was the only farmers’ group leader in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and his death comes as a big blow to the farmers’ movement in the state.