Congress MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary died of a heart attack during Bharat Jodo Yatra in Punjab this morning. He was 76.
Santokh Singh Chaudhary, the party’s MP from Jalandhar, collapsed during the foot march in Punjab’s Phillaur. He was taken to a hospital in Phagwara in an ambulance, where he died later.
Rahul Gandhi, who was leading the yatra, left the march midway and rushed to the hospital where the veteran Congress leader had been taken, a party leader said. He is likely to meet Chaudhary’s family at his home in Jalandhar later today.
The yatra has been suspended for now.
The Punjab leg of the Congress’ mega foot march began on Wednesday from Fatehgarh Sahib.
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said Mr Chaudhary’s death is a “great blow to the party and organisation”.
“Deeply shocked and saddened to learn about the untimely passing away of our MP, Shri Santokh Singh 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. May his soul rest in peace,” he tweeted.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “Santokh Singh Chaudhary, aged 76, Congress MP from Jalandhar, passed away from a sudden cardiac arrest during the Bharat Jodo Yatra this morning. We extend our deepest condolences to his family. There will be some changes in schedule of the yatra which will be shared shortly.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also expressed condolences.
Chaudhary had won the Lok Sabha elections twice – first in 2014 and later in 2019. His son Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary is the Congress MLA from Phillaur assembly constituency in Punjab.