Uttar Pradesh minister Kamal Rani Varun, who had earlier tested positive for the novel coronavirus, died due to the infection in Lucknow this morning. She was 62.
The minister died at 9:30 AM at Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, the government said in a statement. Kamal Rani Varun, who served as Minister of Technical Education, is the first minister in Uttar Pradesh to die after contracting coronavirus.
The 62-year-old politician was admitted to hospital on July 18 after she tested positive.
"She had comorbidities in the form of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and hypothyroidism. She had bilateral pneumonia at admission and was shifted to ICU on the day of admission itself because of high oxygen requirement.," Dr RK Dhiman, Director SGPGI, Lucknow, said.
President Ram Nath Kovind, in his condolence message, said that Kamal Rani Varun was well respected for serving people at the grassroots.
Saddened by the untimely demise of Smt Kamal Rani Varun, Cabinet Minister in the Uttar Pradesh Government. Well respected for serving people at the grassroots, she had also served as an MP in the Lok Sabha twice. My condolences to her family and followers.- President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 2, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the minister played an important role in strengthening the BJP in the state.
"Saddened by the death of the Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Smt. Kamala Rani Varun Ji. Her entire life was devoted to social service. She played an important role in strengthening the BJP in the state. My condolences are with her family and supporters in this hour of grief. Om Shanti!" PM Modi tweeted in Hindi.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also expressed grief over the minister's death.
"Kamal Rani Varun died on Sunday at around 9.30 am. She was an experienced and capable leader. She discharged her responsibilities with competence. She was a dedicated public representative, who was always working for the welfare of deprived and oppressed sections of the society," he said
Kamal Rani was MLA from Ghatampur in Kanpur. In the past, she was also a Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha twice.
The chief minister has cancelled his scheduled visit to Ayodhya to oversee the preparations for the ground-breaking ceremony for building of the Ram temple there.
"The sudden death of Kamal Rani is shocking. She was very active during her stint as Member of Parliament in the 11th and 12th Lok Sabha. I express my deepest condolences to her family in this time of grief," Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel said in a statement.
Former chief minister Mayawati also posted a condolence message on Twitter. "The news of Uttar Pradesh Technical Education Minister Kamal Rani's death due to corona infection today is very sad and also very worrying. In view of this sad death, both the Center and the State Government need to be very serious in the matter of prevention of the rising outbreak of Corona epidemic in UP," the BSP chief tweeted in Hindi.
Born on May 3, 1958, Kamal Rani was among the 18 members inducted in the council of ministers headed by Adityanath on August 21, 2019, the first such reshuffle since the BJP government came to power in March 2017.
Kamal Rani was the only woman cabinet minister in UP following Rita Bahuguna Joshi's resignation after getting elected to the Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued here on Sunday, principal secretary Jitendra Kumar said, "The national flag will be flown at half mast in the state capital, and in the district on the day of cremation."
The COVID-19 situation is grim in Uttar Pradesh, where 1,677 people have lost their lives due to the virus. With over 100 deaths, state capital Lucknow is among the worst-affected; it is only behind Kanpur (202 deaths) and Meerut (108) in the number of fatalities in the state.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in the state stands at 89,068, up from Friday''s 85,261.
With additional inputs from PTI