Chandigarh: Congress’ Jalandhar MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary died on Saturday after suffering a cardiac arrest during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, following which the march was halted.

He was 76.

The two-time MP was taking part in the Rahul Gandhi-led march in Phillaur in Jalandhar where he fainted, said senior party leader Partap Singh Bajwa, who was also marching with other yatris.

Chaudhary was rushed to a hospital in Phagwara in an ambulance where he was declared brought dead. Later, his body was shifted to his residence.

Chaudhary had joined the Gandhi-led yatra at Phillaur, but he felt uneasiness after some time and fainted.

The yatra was halted following the death of the Congress MP.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said Chaudhary’s passing away is a great blow to the 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,” Kharge said on Twitter.

Congress General Secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said, “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.”

The Rahul Gandhi-led yatra resumed from Ladhowal in Ludhiana on Saturday morning as part of its Punjab leg.

Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said the yatra was suspended immediately after Rahul Gandhi came to know about the death of the MP.

“Deeply saddened to inform you about the passing away of @INCPunjab MP Santokh Chaudhary ji. My deepest condolences to his family, colleagues, friends and supporters. I am in shock but Chaudhary Saab’s resolve will always be a source of inspiration to me,” Warring said.

He said Chaudhary was very excited about the yatra which was passing through his area. “The Chaudhary family has been associated with the Congress for a very long time.”

Warring further said the has decided to conduct the cremation at 11 am on Sunday.

Several political leaders including AAP leader and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann expressed grief over the death of the Congress MP.

“I am deeply saddened at the untimely death of Congress Member of Parliament from Jalandhar, Santokh Singh Chaudhary,” Mann said in a tweet in Punjabi.

Senior Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa said, “Extremely saddened by the passing away of Jalandhar MP & my dear friend @SSChaudharyMP ji. We have lost a gem, his void will be difficult to fill. My heartfelt condolences to his son MLA Vikram Chaudhary, friends and family.”

Former chief minister and former Congress leader Amarinder Singh also condoled Chaudhary’s death.

“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, said Singh in his tweet.

AAP MP Raghav Chadha said he was very saddened to learn about the death of Chaudhary.

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh tweeted, “My condolences to his son @VikramjitMLA, family and followers. May Gurusahab bless his soul.”

The Punjab leg of the march began on Wednesday from Sirhind in Fatehgarh Sahib. The yatra took a break on Friday in the wake of Lohri festival.

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