Uttar Pradesh’s Technical Education Minister Kamal Rani Varun, who had underlying medical conditions, died of the novel coronavirus at Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI-MC) in Lucknow on Sunday.
The 62-year-old, the only woman in the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet, is the first minister in Uttar Pradesh to succumb to Covid. An MLA from Ghatampur in Kanpur Nagar, she was also a member of the 11th and 12th Lok Sabha.
Varun, survived by her daughter, was cremated at the Bhairo Ghat crematorium here with police honours. The state government announced state mourning.
According to officials at SGPGI where Varun died at 9.30 am, the minister tested positive on July 18 after she complained of fever, cough and breathlessness. “She also had comorbidities in the form of diabetes mellitus, hypertension and hypothyroidism. She had bilateral pneumonia during admission and was shifted to the ICU the same day because of a high oxygen requirement,” said SGPGI Director Dr RK Dhiman.
“She later required non-invasive ventilation with a high oxygen requirement. On evaluation, she had all the features of a severe disease, and she was given a Remdesivir injection followed by Tocilizumab after which she had transient improvement for a few days. But her condition started deteriorating again. She was immediately transfused with convalescent plasma, and steroid doses were hiked. Expert advice from Prof Randeep Guleria, Director AIIMS, and Prof Ritesh Agarwal, PGIMER, Chandigarh, was also taken,” he added.
Dr Dhiman said Varun had progressive severe disease “unresponsive to maximal medical therapy” and was put on a mechanical ventilator on Saturday, but her condition continued to deteriorate “with hypotension (low blood pressure) and multiorgan dysfunction”.
Condoling the death of the minister, President Ram Nath Kovind said she was well respected for serving people at the grassroots.
“Very sad over the death of Uttar Pradesh minister Kamal Rani Varun. Her whole life was dedicated to social service. She played an important in strengthening the BJP in the state. My condolences with her family and supporters in this hour of grief,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted in Hindi.
Yogi Adityanath, who was Sunday scheduled to review preparations for the Ram temple bhoomi pujan ceremony, cancelled his Ayodhya visit after the minister’s death.
Earlier in the day, a condolence motion was passed in the state Cabinet.
Another minister, UP BJP chief test positive
Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Jal Shakti Minister Mahendra Singh and state BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh tested positive for Covid on Sunday while minister Kamal Rani Verma succumbed to the infection, sources said.
Jal Shakti Minister Mahendra Singh was tested for Covid after he developed symptoms, sources said. He was admitted to SGPGI after the test report confirmed his infection. Singh could not be contacted as his phone was switched off.
Swatantra Dev Singh requested those who might have come in his contact to quarantine themselves as per protocol and get themselves tested if needed. He tweeted that he is under home isolation on the advice of doctors. —ENS
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