R Kanagaraj, the AIADMK MLA from Sulur Assembly constituency passed away due to a cardiac arrest on Thursday morning. He was 66.
Sulur police confirmed the death to TNM and said that the legislator was at his house in Sulur when he passed away. Kanagaraj was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in 2016 from Sulur in Coimbatore district. He defeated Congress candidate Manoharan by a margin of over 35,000 votes.
Kanagaraj was an agriculturist and had no criminal cases against him. He was elected as an MLA for the first time in 2016. Previously he has been the president of panchayat in Coimbatore district.
R Kanagaraj was with the Edappadi K Palaniswami faction of the AIADMK when it split after the death of former Chief minister J Jayalalithaa. He was one of the first MLAs to congratulate TTV Dhinakaran after he won the RK Nagar bye-polls. He was also among the first MLAs to call for the three factions of the AIADMK -- Edappadi Palaniswami, O Panneerselvam and TTV Dhinakaran -- to unite for the sake of the party and its cadres.
He was also caught in a TV sting operation conducted by Times Now and Moon TV in which two MLAs were caught talking about how they were offered money and gold to join the VK Sasikala faction during the Koovathur resort drama in February 2017.
Kanagaraj is survived by his wife Rathinam, son Shanmugasundaram and daughter Bamavijaya.
With his demise, the total number of vacancies in the Tamil Nadu Assembly rises to 22. Tamil Nadu will witness simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and to 18 Assembly constituencies on April 18.