Bengaluru, The Bharatiya Janata Party’s newly elected Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka Ashok Gasti is in a critical condition due to Covid-induced complications at a private hospital in the city, an official said on Thursday.
The ruling party and its leaders, including a Minister, however, declared Gasti “dead” and began mourning him even as the Manipal hospital maintained that his condition was critical.
“Gasti is in a critical condition. He was admitted in our hospital recently after he tested Covid positive,” a Manipal hospital spokesperson .
Gasti, 55, was elected unopposed to the Upper House on June 12 along with Iranna Kadadi of the BJP. He also took oath as a member of the Upper House on July 22 at Parliament House.
“Gasti was admitted with severe Covid-19 pneumonia. He is critically ill with multiple organ failure and was on life support system in the intensive care unit (ICU), Manipal Director Manish Rai said in a statement here.
An advocate by profession, Gasti hails from the barber community and belongs to Raichur district in the state’s northern region, nearly 490 km from Bengaluru.
Gasti is the party’s former Zilla Parishad President from Raichur district.
Soon after the party’s state unit tweeted in Kannada that Gasti died due to Covid, state Health Minister B. R. Sriramulu and the party’s Lok Sabha member from Chikkamagaluru Shobha Karandalaje both tweeted condolence messages.
“Even Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Union Home Minister Amit Shah condoled Gasti’s death through tweets,” a party official admitted.
Terming Gasti’s “death” as unfortunate, Sriramulu tweeted that someone who dreamt of doing social service had passed away untimely.
“May his soul rest in peace and may God give his family strength to bear the loss,” said Sriramulu in his tweet.
Shah in a tweet said,”Shocked and pained over the untimely demise of Rajya Sabha MP and senior BJP leader Ashok Gasti from Karnataka. Over the years, he served the organisation and the nation in multiple roles. My condolences are with his family in this hour of grief.”
Naidu also tweeted that he was saddened to learn about the demise of Rajya Sabha member Ashok Gasti.
“He was known for his simplicity and commitment for the upliftment of the downtrodden. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members,” said Naidu who is the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
Expressing shock at the sudden “demise” of Gasti, Shobha said,”May the Almighty strengthen his family and friends to bear this loss. May his soul attain sadgati.”