29 Aug 2020
Congress MP dies of coronavirus, spoke about it in Parliament
Written byShalini OjhaPolitics
Congress MP H Vasanthakumar, who passed away due to coronavirus on Friday, had spoken about the seriousness of the disease in the Parliament but was shunned.
The 70-year-old represented Kanyakumari in the Lok Sabha, and had implored the Centre to take the health crisis and its economic impact seriously.
Ironically, his genuine concerns sparked laughs in the House and his mic was switched off.
We have to announce a national disaster, said Vasanthakumar
After his demise, a video of his interaction with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla surfaced on social media.
In the clip, he was seen asking for a declaration of a national disaster.
"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 had said.
As he requested more time, he was cut off
Within the stipulated time he was given to speak, the parliamentarian said that GST should be waived off. He also noted that daily wage workers were affected and the government should pay minimum Rs. 2,000/family.
As he requested one more minute to speak, Birla said, "Mic bandh (off)."
After him, Trinamool's Saugata Roy was allowed to address the House.
Watch: Vasanthakumar wasn't allowed to speak for long
On 20th March Kanyakumari MP #Vasanthakumar ji in his Lok Sabha speech kept demand of declaring #COVIDー19 as "National Disaster"..— Niraj Bhatia (@bhatia_niraj23) August 28, 2020
He spoke also for direct benifit transfers to daily wagers to help small businesses ..
He was interrupted with laugh within few secs..
RIP sir🙏 pic.twitter.com/L5ezM2b6l4
In March, India was locked down to stop coronavirus transmission
To note, days after his speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a complete lockdown in the country. On March 25, a lockdown for 21 days was enforced, which was extended later.
The restrictions adversely affected India's economy, prompting Modi to announce a Rs. 20 lakh crore stimulus.
Like Vasanthakumar suggested, the Centre also announced a moratorium on debt repayment, that will end on Monday.
He was admitted to hospital on August 10
As per reports, Vasanthakumar was admitted to a city hospital on August 10, after developing coronavirus symptoms. He is survived by his wife, who is also being treated for COVID-19, and son Vijay Vasanth, an actor by profession.
Born in 1950, he started his career as a salesman with VGP & Co., selling Murphy transistors. Later, he took a loan for his own business.
He founded Vasanth & Co. in 1978
In 1978, he laid the foundation for Vasanth & Co., which went on to become the biggest consumer durable retail chain in Tamil Nadu. Currently, it has nearly 80 branches in Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
In 2006, he was elected to Tamil Nadu Assembly from the Nanguneri segment, when Congress and DMK were allies. He lost the subsequent state polls.
He lost Lok Sabha polls in 2014, won in 2019
In 2014, he fought from Kanyakumari Lok Sabha but was defeated by BJP's Pon Radhakrishnan. In the next general polls, Vasanthakumar defeated Radhakrishnan.
Former TNCC President S Thirunavukkarasar said Vasanthakumar was a true nationalist. "In a short duration as MP, he proved himself," Thirunavukkarasar told TOI.
Condoling his death, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi wrote Vasanthakumar was committed to Congress ideology.
Hi commitment will remain in our hearts forever: Rahul
The news of Kanyakumari MP, Shri H Vasanthakumar’s untimely demise due to Covid-19 has come as a shock.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 28, 2020
His commitment to the congress ideology of serving the people will remain in our hearts forever.
Heartfelt condolences to his friends and family members. pic.twitter.com/oqhrfQXEUD