Congress MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary dies after cardiac arrest during Bharat Jodo Yatra in Punjab
Chandigarh, January 14, 2023
Congress Lok Sabha member Santokh Singh Chaudhary died after suffering a cardiac arrest during the party's Bharat Jodo Yatra, helmed by its senior leader Rahul Gandhi, in Punjab on Saturday.
He was 76.
"Santokh Singh Chaudhary, aged 76, Congress MP from Jalandhar, passed away from a sudden cardiac arrest during the Bharat Jodo Yatra this morning," Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said.
"We extend our deepest condolences to his family," he said.
Later, Jairam said on Twitter that the yatra would be suspended for 24 hours as a mark of respect for Choudhary. "The yatra will resume tomorrow afternoon from Khalsa College Ground, Jalandhar," he added.
Chaudhary, who fell while participating in the yatra in Phillaur town, was rushed to a hospital in Phagwara in an ambulance, where he was pronounced dead.
Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Partap Singh Bajwa said Chaudhary was walking along with a fellow MP from Kerala and suddenly collapsed.
In 2019, Chaudhary had become a second-time MP from Jalandhar with a margin of 19,491 votes.
His last rites will be performed on Sunday morning in hisnative village of Gakhlan Dhaliwal in Jalandhar district.
After a day's break, Rahul Gandhi had resumed the Kanyakumari-Kashmir 3,570-km, 150-day Bharat Jodo Yatra from Ladhowal Toll Plaza in Ludhiana on Saturday morning.
Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said the yatra would remain suspended till until the last rites are performed.
Chaudhary had come out with Rahul Gandhi from Kusht Ashram in Phillaur when he collapsed.
"He was a down-to-earth hardworking leader, a pious person and a strong pillar of the Congress family, who dedicated his life to public service from Youth Congress to Member of Parliament," Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter, expressing condolences.
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said he was deeply shocked and saddened to learn about the untimely passing away of Chaudhary.
"His loss is a great blow to the party and organisation. In this hour of grief, my heart goes out to his family, friends and followers," Kharge said.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra expressed condolences and praised him for being a dedicated leader and true public servant for the Congress ideology.
"Shri Santokh Singh ji was a dedicated leader and true public servant for the Congress ideology. His death has caused an irreparable loss to the Indian National Congress," she wrote on Twitter.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann tweeted: "I am deeply saddened by the untimely death of Congress Member of Parliament from Jalandhar, Santokh Singh Chaudhury. May God rest his soul in peace."
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla expressed condolences on the demise of Chaudhary and said that the parliamentarian was always vocal on issues of public interest.
(With inputs from IANS)