Karnataka Legislative Council Deputy Chairman S L Dharme Gowda was found dead on a rail track in Chikkamagaluru district in the early hours of Tuesday, with police sources claiming he died by suicide.
The body was found on a rail track near Gunasagara in Kadur taluk, they said.
Dharme Gowda, 64, who was a Janata Dal-Secular MLC, is survived by his wife, son and a daughter. His brother S L Bhoje Gowda is also an MLC.
According to sources, Dharme Gowda left his farmhouse at Sakharayapattana in a private car on Tuesday evening but did not return home, following which his family members and staff started searching for him.
He had reportedly asked his driver to stay at a distance and went alone on the pretext of talking to someone, the sources said, adding that a suicide note has been recovered.
The body has been shifted to the McGann Hospital in Shivamogga, official sources said.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa expressed shock over the incident, terming it 'unfortunate'. He lauded the MLC for efficiently conducting the legislative council as its deputy chairman.
JD-S patriarch and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, in a tweet, expressed shock over Dharme Gowda's death and remembered him as a gentleman politician.
JD-S leader and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy said Dharme Gowda was like a brother to him. 'His death has caused a shock to me. He was an upright politician,' Kumaraswamy said in a tweet.