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A Witty Thinker and a Flamboyant Leader is no more

Former Chief Minister and Janata Dal (U) leader J.H. Patel (71) died here in the wee hours of Tuesday. Wife Sarvamangala and three sons Mahima, Trishul and Satish survive him. Patel was admitted to Manipal Hospital on December 1 for liver ailment. And he breathed his last at the hospital at 2.30 am.

In the evening, the body was taken to his native Kariganur via Chitradurga and Davanagere. The last rites will be performed with full state honours on Wednesday.

He was born on October 1, 1930. Patel was a Graduate in Law, and had participated in the freedom struggle in 1947 and was imprisoned. He also served jail terms for participating in Kagodu Satyagraha and during the Emergency.

He was a follower of Rammanohar Lohia; Patel was a close associate of Shantveri Gopala Gowda, George Fernandes and Madhu Limaye. He had close links with literary circle, and shared a warm relationship with Prof. Ananthamurthy, Gopala Krishna Adiga, Beechi, P. Kalinga Rao, among others.

Patel was elected to Lok Sabha from Shimoga constituency in 1967, and was the first Kannadiga to table his debates in Kannada. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly from Channagiri constituency in 1978. He was elected for the second term in 1983, and served as a cabinet minister under Ramakrishna Hegde. In last election a young candidate Vadnal Rajanna defeated him.

J.H. Patel was a rare politician known for his wit and sarcasm. Here are some of the glimpses.

When the Janata Dal suffered a major setback in the last Assembly elections mainly due to the party split, media persons asked Patel when the parties would unite. He said "we have divorced just now, there will be no remarriage immediately".

Patel's frank introspection "I am fond of wine and women; and my wife knows about it" had sent shock ripples.

On the opposition criticism of the power shortage, Patel said "The Opposition leaders are unnecessarily raising a hue and cry, let them touch the electric wire once and feel it!!".

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