Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashok Gasti, who became a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament in June, passed away on Thursday in Bengaluru, days after he was infected with the coronavirus. He was admitted to Raichur District Hospital on August 31 after he developed a fever. He tested positive and was shifted to Bengaluru two days later.
He was hospitalised in Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru on September 2 where he passed away 15 days later. His family confirmed to TNM that he developed breathing difficulties and has been on ventilator support.
Confirming his demise, the hospital, in a statement said, â€śShri Ashok Gasti, Honâ€™ble Member of Parliament from Rajya Sabha who was admitted to Manipal Hospital, Old Airport Road on 02.09.2020, diagnosed with severe COVID-19 pneumonia passed away at 10.31pm.He was 55 years old.
He was critically ill with multi-organ failure on life support system in the Intensive care unit under constant observation by our expert panel of doctors.
We deeply regret the loss and express our condolences to his family and friends.â€ť
Ashok Gastiâ€™s family members said that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus on August 30. He developed a fever on August 31 and was admitted to the Raichur District Hospital. On September 2, he was shifted to Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru for treatment. He was put on oxygen support when his levels dropped. He was eventually put on ventilator support.
Condoling Ashokâ€™s death, Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted, â€śShocked and pained by the untimely demise of Rajya Sabha MP and senior BJP leader from Karnataka, Shri Ashok Gasti ji. Over the years, he served the organization & nation in multiple roles. My deepest condolences are with his family in this hour of grief. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.â€ť
Ashok, 55, hails from Raichur district and was nominated by the BJP as one of two names for the Rajya Sabha MP seat in the biennial elections this year. He came through the ranks in the BJP after working in the partyâ€™s Ballari, Koppal and Raichur units.
Ashok Gasti was an active member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in 1982 when he was 18 years old. In 1987, he went on to join the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He was also the president of the BJPâ€™s Yuva Morcha in Raichur district in 1989. He was in-charge of six Lok Sabha and seven Assembly elections for the BJP in Raichur district. Known to be a grassroots party worker, he was appointed as the Raichur District President for the BJP in 2010. He was also the head of the Devaraj Urs Backward Classes Commission in Karnataka for five months before he headed the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission.
Ashok Gasti was a vocal critic of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and was one of the leaders who had openly said that grassroots workers were not treated fairly by him.
In June this year, Ashok Gasti had visited Raichur district and promised development of the region, which is one of the most backward districts in the state. Upon being elected as a Rajya Sabha member, Ashok Gasti had said that his primary objective was to irrigate lands of farmers located in the Krishna and Tungabhadra river basins. He had also promised the constituents of Raichur to drive industrial investment to the district to generate jobs and prevent migration, especially of people from the Dalit, Adivasi and OBC communities.