New Delhi, August 31: President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders across the political spectrum on Monday condoled the demise of former president Pranab Mukherjee, hailing him as a scholar par excellence who served the nation with diligence.
Mukherjee died on Monday in an army hospital here, his son Abhijit said. He was 84.
He was admitted to hospital on August 10 and a health bulletin this morning said he was in a deep coma and on ventilator support.
As condolences poured in for India’s 13th president, who served as the country’s first citizen from 2012 to 2017, Kovind described Mukherjee’s demise as the passing of an era.
“A colossus in public life, he served Mother India with the spirit of a sage. The nation mourns losing one of its worthiest sons. Condolences to his family, friends and all citizens,” he said.
Naidu said the country has lost an elder statesman in his death.
“He rose from humble beginnings to occupy the country’s highest constitutional position through hard work, discipline and dedication,” he said.
Modi said Mukherjee has left an indelible mark on the development trajectory of the nation.
“A scholar par excellence, a towering statesman, he was admired across the political spectrum and by all sections of society,” Modi said.
“During his political career that spanned decades, Shri Pranab Mukherjee made long-lasting contributions in key economic and strategic ministries. He was an outstanding Parliamentarian, always well-prepared, extremely articulate as well as witty,” he said.
Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Harsh Vardhan and Prakash Javadekar, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, among others, condoled Mukherjee’s demise and paid rich tributes to him.
Shah expressed deep anguish over Mukherjee’s death, saying his demise has left a huge void in the Indian polity.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Javadekar said the country has lost one of its finest sons.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Mukherjee epitomised simplicity, honesty and strength of character.
Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said Mukherjee’s “warmth, dedication and vision has left an indelible mark”.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also expressed deep anguish over Mukherjee’s demise and called his erudition and wisdom “really inspiring”.
BJP chief J P Nadda said Mukherjee has served the country in many roles with diligence and determination.
In a letter to Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmishtha, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said though her father had been critically ill for some days, it still comes as a great shock to learn of his passing.
“Pranab Da had been such an integral and prominent part of national life, the Congress party and the central government for over five decades, it is hard to imagine how we can do without his wisdom, experience, sage advice and deep understanding of so many subjects,” Sonia Gandhi said.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh condoled Mukherjee’s demise, saying, “Our country has lost one of its greatest leaders of Independent India”.
“He and I worked very closely in the Government of India and I depended on him a great deal for his wisdom, vast knowledge and experience of public affairs,” he said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also condoled Mukherjee’s demise.
“With great sadness, the nation receives the news of the unfortunate demise of our former President Shri Pranab Mukherjee. I join the country in paying homage to him. My deepest condolences to the bereaved family and friends,” he said.
Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra, Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya and Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha expressed anguish over Mukherjee’s death and called him an “extraordinary leader”.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “Received the sad news of demise of former president Shri Pranab Mukherjee. May the almighty receive the departed soul and give courage to his family and loved ones to bear this sorrow.”
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath described Mukherjee’s death as an “irreparable loss”. UP Deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma and Legislative Assembly Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit also expressed grief over his demise.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said Mukherjee always “gave ears to what others said irrespective of party affiliation”.
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar said apart from Mukherjee’s services in the political arena to serving the society, he made significant contributions in the economic field as well.
Haryana Congress leaders Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Kumari Selja and state BJP president O P Dhankar also condoled Mukherjee’s death.
Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot expressed grief over Mukherjee’s demise and hailed his contribution.
Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Govind Singh Dotasra, former deputy CM Sachin Pilot, former CM Vasundhara Raje and other leaders also condoled Mukherjee’s death.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati described Mukherjee as a “true gem” who was of a “kind nature”.
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said Mukherjee was an esteemed colleague, fellow parliamentarian and a dear friend.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and former EC Ashok Lavasa expressed condolences over Mukherjee’s death, saying the nation has lost an accomplished scholar. (PTI)