The Congress candidate from Rajasthan's Karanpur assembly constituency, Gurmeet Singh Koonar, died at the AIIMS in Delhi, party leaders here said on Wednesday. He was 75.
Koonar, who was the sitting MLA from Karanpur, was admitted to the Geriatric Medicine Ward of the All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi on November 12. Koonar died of sepsis with septic shock and renal disease, according to the death certificate issued by the hospital. He was also suffering from hypertension.
He had been fielded by the party from the seat against BJP leader Surendra Pal Singh for the November 25 polls to the 200-member Rajasthan assembly. Citing Section 52 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, an Election Commission (EC) official explained that if a candidate fielded by a recognised state or national party dies before a poll, then the returning officer "adjourns" the poll on that seat "to a date to be notified later".
According to Section 52 (2) of the Act, the EC then asks the recognised political party, whose candidate has died, to nominate another candidate within seven days of being asked to do so.
An official of the election office in Rajasthan said, "The election on the Karanpur seat will be adjourned due to the demise of the candidate. A fresh date of polling will be notified by the Election Commission."
Condoling the death, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said on X, "I am deeply saddened by the news of the demise of Karanpur MLA and former minister Gurmeet Singh Koonar. Despite being unwell for a long time, he was always striving for development work in his area. Koonar Saheb's demise is an irreparable loss for the Congress party and the politics of Rajasthan. I pray to God to give peace to the departed soul and courage to the family.".
Three-time MLA Koonar was a strong leader of the Congress from Karanpur. He had won the 1998 assembly election on a Congress ticket from Karanpur and in 2008, he reached the Assembly as an Independent from the seat. In 2018, the Congress again fielded him from Karanpur and he won.