MP Veerendra Kumar, Head Of Mathrubhumi, Dies; PM Modi, Kerala Chief Minister Pay Tributes

MP Veerendra Kumar, a former union minister, died at a private hospital in Kozhikode on Thursday following a cardiac arrest.

MP Veerendra Kumar, Head Of Mathrubhumi, Dies; PM Modi, Kerala Chief Minister Pay Tributes

MP Veerendra Kumar was a two-time union minister and a former Kerala MLA (File Photo)

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed anguish at the death of Rajya Sabha member and managing director of leading Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi MP Veerendra Kumar, saying he believed in giving a voice to the poor and the underprivileged.

Veerendra Kumar, a former union minister, died on Thursday following a cardiac arrest.

"Anguished by the passing away of Rajya Sabha MP Shri M.P. Veerendra Kumar Ji. He distinguished himself as an effective legislator and Parliamentarian," PM Modi wrote on Twitter.

"Veerendra Kumar believed in giving a voice to the poor and the underprivileged. Condolences to his family and well wishers. Om Shanti," the Prime Minister added.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also condoled Veerendra Kumar's death, saying, "I am sorry to hear about the passing away of author & Managing Director of the Mathrubhumi Group, MP Veerendra Kumar Ji. My condolences to his family, colleagues & friends in this time of grief."

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called Ceerendra Kumar's death "a big loss to democratic and secular movements."

Veerendra Kumar had made "valuable" contributions to the media industry with his uncompromising stand on freedom of press, the Chief Minister said, paying rich tributes.

"Until his last breath, he relentlessly fought communalism and divisive politics. Even as he championed development. Veerendra Kumar was a front-line environmentalist as well. I share this moment of deep grief with his relatives and colleagues," Mr Vijayan wrote in a Facebook post.

Noting that he knew Veerendra Kumar personally for decades, Mr Vijayan remembered how the two had fought together during the Emergency and maintained that relationship even after they had deviated in their political beliefs for a brief while.

"His contributions to our social and cultural spheres had been invaluable," Mr Vijayan further said.

"He had given insightful inputs at a recent joint meeting of MLAs and MPs on tackling the COVID-19 situation in the state," the Chief Minister said.

"With his uncompromising stand for the freedom of the press, he also made valuable contributions to the media industry. A talented writer and orator, he deeply analysed every issue that came his way," Mr Vijayan said.

A two-time union minister and a former Kerala MLA, Veerendra Kumar was the recipient of the of the Kendra Sahitya Academy award for his travelogue "Haimavathabhoovil".

A well known author and orator, 84-year-old Veerendra Kumar died at a private hospital in Kozhikode following cardiac arrest on Thursday night.

The funeral is expected to be held this evening at Kalpetta in Wayanad.

(Inputs from PTI)