Rajya Sabha member Ashok Gasti who was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at a private hospital in Bengaluru passed on late Thursday night. He had tested positive for coronavirus on September 2.

The hospital authorities where the first-time MP was being treated said Gasti was critically ill with multi-organ failure on life support system. “He was under constant observation by our expert panel of doctors. We deeply regret the loss and express our condolences to his family and friends,” said Dr Manish Rai, director of Manipal Hospital.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Gasti was a dedicated ‘Karyakarta’ who worked hard to strengthen the BJP in Karnataka. “He was passionate about empowering the poor and marginalised sections of society. Anguished by his passing away. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti,” Modi wrote in a tweet.

Hours ago, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu had called up Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa to enquire about Gasti’s health. Earlier, the Vice President’s Secretariat had erroneously tweeted about the demise of Gasti.

Several leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Speaker Om Birla, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister SHivraj Singh Chouhan, had expressed their condolences during the day after it was reported that the Rajya Sabha MP had succumbed to the virus.

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