New Delhi: Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi passed away Wednesday at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi. Angadi was undergoing treatment for Covid-19. He was 65.

Angadi had tested positive for novel coronavirus on September 11 ahead of the commencement of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The BJP leader passed away at around 8 pm at the AIIMS trauma centre which has been converted into a dedicated COVID-19 facility, sources at the hospital told PTI. He is the first Union minister to have died of coronavirus. At least six MLAs and three MPs have earlier succumbed to it.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed that the national flag be flown half mast on Thursday in all Government offices in Delhi.

Angadi was a four-time BJP MP from Belagavi elected to Lok Sabha in 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019. His political journey started with joining Bharatiya Janata Party in the year 1996 from Belagavi district in North Karnataka.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind expressed condolences on Angadi’s demise.

“Shri Suresh Angadi was an exceptional Karyakarta, who worked hard to make the Party strong in Karnataka. He was a dedicated MP and effective Minister, admired across the spectrum. His demise is saddening,”Modi tweeted.

“Shocked to know the passing away of Shri Suresh Angadi, Union Minister of State of Railways. An amiable leader Shri Angadi worked tirelessly for the people of his constituency, Belagavi and Karnataka.With his indomitable spirit, he carried out public service with humility and perseverance. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the loved ones,” tweeted President Kovind.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said on the micro-blogging website, “Deeply anguished at the unfortunate demise of Suresh Angadi ji. He was like my brother. Words fall short to describe his commitment & dedication towards the people.”

Karnataka leaders including former prime minister HD Devegowda also condoled his death. “I am shocked and deeply saddened by the demise of Union Minister of State for Railways and four-term MP from Belagavi Shri. Suresh Angadi. He was like a younger brother to me. I feel terrible losing him. This is an unbearable loss to our nation. May his soul rest in peace. May God give his family and well-wishers the strength to bear this pain.” Gowda said.

At least nine Union Ministers have tested positive for Covid-19, including Home Minister Amit Shah, and Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.

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