Congress leader Rahul Gandhi met the family of party MP from Jalandhar Santokh Singh Chaudhary who passed away on Saturday morning during Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Chaudhary, 77, passed away after collapsing in Ludhiana while walking alongside Congress MP Rahul Gandhi during the Bharat Jodo Yatra's Punjab leg amid a cold wave across North India. Chaudhary collapsed after suffering a heart attack. The yatra was suspended for the day.
Chaudhary was rushed to a hospital in Phagwara, where he was declared brought dead.
After the sudden demise of party MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary, Congress suspended the ongoing padayatra and cancelled Rahul Gandhi's press conference in Jalandhar scheduled for Sunday.
Rahul later met the family members of Santokh Singh in Jalandhar and paid his respect to the late MP.
"Shocked by the sudden demise of Santokh Singh Chaudhary. 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. I express my condolences to the bereaved family," tweeted Rahul Gandhi in Hindi.
Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said the last rites of the MP will be performed on Sunday and the yatra will remain suspended till then.
"The yatra is suspended for today. The last rites will be held tomorrow. I have not spoken to Rahul Gandhi yet but we all feel that the yatra should resume after the last rites. Till the last rites are suspended, it will remain suspended," the Punjab Congress chief told reporters.
Leaders across the party condoled the demise of Jalandhar MP.
Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Pained by the passing away of MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary Ji. He will be remembered for his efforts to serve the people of Punjab. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti."
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge condoled the demise of Santokh Singh. "Deeply shocked and saddened to learn about the untimely passing away of our MP, 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," tweeted Kharge.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann expressed his condolences over Singh's demise.
"I am deeply saddened by the untimely death of Congress Member of Parliament from Jalandhar, Santokh Singh Chaudhary. May God rest his soul in peace," tweeted Mann.
Former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh also condoled the demise of the Congress MP.
"Extremely saddened to hear about the sudden demise of MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary ji due to a heart attack today. My heartfelt condolences are with his entire family in their time of grief. May Waheguru Ji grant eternal peace to the departed soul," tweeted Capt Amarinder Singh.
Expressing his condolences, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said, "Condolences on the demise of Lok Sabha MP from Jalandhar Santokh Singh. In his long public life, he was always vocal on issues of public interest. Discipline in the House was the speciality of his personality. May God give peace to the departed soul. My condolences to the family members."
Taking to Twitter, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said, "Saddened to learn about the passing away of Jalandhar MP Santokh Chaudhary Ji. My condolences to his son Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, family and followers. May Gurusahab bless his soul."
Santokh Singh Chaudhary's son Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary is a sitting MLA from Phillaur constituency. (ANI)