Mumbai: A Congress leader died of a heart attack while walking in the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Maharashtra’s Nanded today.
Krishna Kumar Pandey, 75, was general secretary of the Congress Seva Dal. Party leader Rahul Gandhi, who is leading the yatra, paid tributes to Mr Pandey and said his dedication to the country will keep inspiring Congress workers. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said he was “shocked” by the party leader’s death and added that the loss of such a dedicated leader is an “irreparable damage” for the party.
Earlier, senior Congress leader and the party’s communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh shared the unfortunate news on Twitter.
“This 62nd morning of Bharat Jodo Yatra, Krishna Kumar Pandey, General Secretary of Seva Dal was holding the national flag and walking with @digvijaya_28 & me. After a few minutes, as is the practice, he handed the flag to a colleague and moved back. Thereafter he collapsed…,” he tweeted.
This 62nd morning of Bharat Jodo Yatra, Krishna Kumar Pandey, General Secretary of Seva Dal was holding the national flag and walking with @digvijaya_28 & me. After a few minutes, as is the practice, he handed the flag to a colleague and moved back. Thereafter he collapsed… pic.twitter.com/5rMiCAfu6P
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) November 8, 2022
Mr Ramesh added that he was rushed to a hospital but could not be saved. “He was a staunch Congressman and used to take on the RSS in Nagpur. It is a most humbling moment for all the Yatris,” the Congress leader posted along with a video in which party supporters are seen observing silence to pay respect to the dead leader.
Mr Gandhi expressed his condolences to Mr Pandey’s family and said he held the national flag in his last moments.
कांग्रेस सेवा दल के महासचिव, कृष्णकांत पांडे जी का निधन पूरे कांग्रेस परिवार के लिए बहुत दुःखद है। उनके प्रियजनों को मैं अपनी गहरी संवेदनाएं व्यक्त करता हूं।
आज, यात्रा के दौरान अंतिम समय में उन्होंने हाथों में तिरंगा थामा था। देश के लिए उनका समर्पण हमें सदा प्रेरणा देता रहेगा। pic.twitter.com/VvC1O5ZJfh
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) November 8, 2022
The 3,570-km yatra led by Mr Gandhi has entered Maharashtra two months after it started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu for Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. The march has already passed through Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Telangana.
The yatra is a desperate attempt by the Congress to rally support ahead of the 2024 general election to put up a formidable challenge to the BJP.
In Maharashtra, the Congress has invited Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar and former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, both allies of the party, to join the yatra.
Mr Pawar’s participation is uncertain after he was recently hospitalised. Shiv Sena leaders have said former minister and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray may join the yatra.