MP Who Died of COVID Spoke of Pandemic in Parliament, Was Cut Off

In Parliament, the Congress MP had suggested measures to tackle the coronavirus crisis, but, he was interrupted.

2 min read
H Vasanthakumar, the 70-year-old Congress MP, had been admitted to a hospital in Chennai on 10 August after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

H Vasanthakumar, the Congress MP from Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari who died on Friday, 28 August, due to the novel coronavirus, had flagged the seriousness of the pandemic in Parliament earlier this year.

During a Parliament session in March, the lawmaker had said, "Speaker sir, we have to announce coronavirus as a national disaster as it is affecting the whole nation. A zero-revenue situation will definitely impact the repayment of loans. I urge the government to reschedule the loan payment of small businessmen and individuals at least for three months."

He suggested measures to tackle the crisis, but was interrupted and later his microphone was cut off.

"Daily wagers have been the worst affected. I urge upon the government to pay a minimum of ₹2,000 per family from the National Disaster Fund," he had said.

When another lawmaker interjected, Vasanthakumar requested for one more minute to speak. He then suggested a waiver of the Goods and Services Tax until the pandemic was over. He even acknowledged that essential goods and commodities will become scarce and the government needs to take cognizance.

Just then, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla is heard saying, "Mic bandh (off)" and Trinamool Congress' Saugata Roy takes over.

The 70-year-old leader had been admitted to a hospital in Chennai on 10 August after testing positive for coronavirus. He had contracted severe pneumonia.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

Vasanthakumar had been elected MLA twice in the past from the Nanguneri Assembly constituency and was the working president of the state Congress committee. He also established Vasanth & Co, a chain of consumer electronics and home appliances stores and Vasanth TV, an entertainment satellite channel.

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