Chennai, Jan 8: Senior BJP leader and party's national executive member MN Sukumaran Nambiar died here today following an heart attack, with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa condoling the death describing him as a “true patriot” whose passing away, she said, will be a “great loss to the BJP.”
The cremation will be held tomorrow and party president Nitin Gadkari and senior leaders, including M Venkiah Naidu, will take part, BJP state unit president Pon. Radhakrishnan said.
Sukumaran (60), son of legendary actor the late MN Nambiar, is survived by wife and two sons. An industrialist by profession, he had also served as the BJP's Treasurer.
Perceived to have enjoyed good relations with senior leader LK Advani and Jayalalithaa, he is believed to have played a key role in firming up the alliance between his party and AIADMK in 1998 and 2004.
He, however, failed to make it to the Lok sabha in the 2004 elections from North Chennai.
“His death is indeed a great loss to the Bharatiya Janata Party. In his passing away, we have lost a true patriot and a person who untiringly served society,” Jayalalithaa said.
He was an expert in several martial arts, with a black belt in Karate, she said, adding, he had also trained Indian Army personnel in the martial arts.
“Like his father, Nambiar evinced keen interest in spiritualism and was the President of the All India Ayyappa Seva Sangam,” Jayalalithaa said in an official statement.
In his condolence message, Radhakrishnan said despite being from an affluent family, the late leader used to “move closely with party workers.” He described Nambiar as a great patriot who had evinced keen interest in the poor's welfare.
Party flags in the state will fly half-mast for the next three days in respect of the departed, he said, adding, a three-day mourning will also be observed.