Bengaluru: In what has sent shockwaves across the state of Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s son Rakesh has been declared dead in Belgium.
Rakesh (39) had been suffering from a pancreatic ailment and reportedly died of multiple organ failure. He had been admitted to the Antwerp University Hospital in Brussels on Tuesday and was in a critical condition.
Siddaramaiah and his family are likely to bring Rakesh’ body back to India on Sunday evening. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reportedly requested the Indian Ambassador to Belgium to assist Siddaramaiah’s family in carrying out the legal formalities in bringing the body back to India.
Earlier this month, he had reiterated that he would not enter politics as long as his father was active, and that he would contest elections only when his father permitted it. “My father is my political guru. I am what I am today because of him. I will not enter politics as long as my father is in politics. I don’t want this to become a part of father-and-sons (a dig at the JDS). While my father is in politics, I will struggle for farmers, for the downtrodden and Dalits.”
After learning of his son’s illness, Siddaramaiah is said to have been in touch with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. He told reporters on Wednesday that his son was “critical but stable” and that he would leave for Belgium the following day.
The official Twitter handle of the CM had also tweeted that day: CM Siddaramaiah’s son Rakesh had fell ill while touring in Belgium. Hospitalized& getting better. CM’s family is in touch with the doctors. Siddaramaiah’s younger son Yahtindra, his wife and their family doctor had left ahead of the CM himself.
Rakesh was reportedly on a tour of France and Brussels with his friends when he developed the medical complications from a previous illness. He had embarked on the tour early last week.
Siddaramaiah had political ambitions for Rakesh, who was slated to contest from the CM’s constituency of Varuna in Mysuru district, after the latter quit politics. He has often suggested that he would retire from politics after his tenure as Chief Minister.
After his birthday in July 2015, Rakesh had said that Siddaramaiah had clearly told him that he could not contest elections while his father was active in politics. “My father has told me clearly that I should stay away from politics till he is active. I don’t want Congress to be called as a dynastic party in Karnataka. I will become active in politics only after my father retires from this field,” he said.
Later in December, Siddaramaiah made similar remarks. He had said that his son would not contest elections until he himself quit politics for good.
He is reported to have told his friends recently that he would contest from the Varuna constituency in the 2018 state polls.