Former Delhi minister A K Walia succumbs to COVID-19

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New Delhi, Apr 22 (PTI) Senior Congress leader and former Delhi government minister A K Walia died of COVID-19 in the early hours of Thursday, party leaders said.

He was 72.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal among others condoled his demise.

Delhi Congress president Anil Kumar expressed grief over the former MLA's death. He said Walia breathed his last at the city's Apollo Hospital.

A four-time MLA, Walia headed several portfolios, including health and finance, in the Sheila Dikshit government.

Party leaders said Walia, who represented the Laxmi Nagar constituency in the assembly, was admitted to the hospital a few days ago after testing positive for coronavirus.

He died around 1.30 am on Thursday, they added.

In his message, Rahul Gandhi said Walia was a 'very helpful' member of the party with a deep social consciousness.

'I'm saddened by the death of AK Walia ji. He was a very helpful member of the Congress party with a deep social consciousness. My condolences to his family & friends,' he said in the message on Telegram.

Family members of the deceased Congress leader said his last rites were performed in adherence with COVID-19 protocols at the Saray Kale Khan cremation ground.

In a tweet offering his condolences, Kejriwal prayed for strength to the bereaved family.

Priyanka Gandhi recalled how Walia helped many people in distress.

'I personally witnessed Shri A.K.Walia help so many people in distress as Health Minister of Delhi. We are all deeply saddened by news of his passing. May his soul rest in peace,' she tweeted.

AAP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also condoled Walia's death, saying he promoted positive politics in Delhi. PTI VIT IJT