R Kanagaraj, who represented Sulur in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, died on Thursday after a cardiac arrest. Kanagaraj was a member of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
Unidentified party functionaries said Kanagaraj collapsed while reading the newspaper and died at his residence in Vadambacherry village in Sulur, The Hindu reported. With his death, 22 seats in the Tamil Nadu Assembly which has 234 members are now vacant. Bye-elections to 18 of the seats will be held on April 18 along with the Lok Sabha polls.
Kanagaraj is the fifth legislator of the current Assembly to die since May 2016, including former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and former Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M Karunanidhi.
Kanagaraj was a first-time MLA and defeated the Congress candidate with a margin of 35,000 votes, reported The News Minute. He was with the faction led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami after the party split following Jayalalithaa’s death.
Kanagaraj was caught in a TV sting operation conducted by Moon TV in which he and another MLA were caught on camera claiming that they were offered money and gold join Jayalalithaa’s aide VK Sasikala in February 2017 after the rebellion by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.