New Delhi, Aug 31 (PTI) Congress leaders, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi, condoled the death of former president Pranab Mukherjee on Monday, remembering him as India's finest statesman and a visionary leader.
Singh said the nation has lost one of its greatest leaders.
'I have learnt with profound sorrow about the passing away of Shri Pranab Mukherjee, former president of India. In his death, 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,' Singh said in his condolence message.
Mukherjee died on Monday in the Army's Research and Referral Hospital here, his son Abhijit said. He was 84.
He was admitted to the hospital on August 10 and a health bulletin on Monday morning said he was in a deep coma and on ventilator support.
AICC general secretary organisation KC Venugopal on behalf of the party said, 'The Congress party condoles the passing away of Shri Pranab Mukherjee, former President of India. This loss is irreparable. The nation is going to miss him. Congress Party is going to miss him'.
In a letter to Mukherjee's daughter Sharmistha, Sonia Gandhi said his life over the past five decades mirrored 50 years of India's history.
'He brought distinction to every post he held. He established a genuine rapport with colleagues across the political spectrum, and he served our country with the utmost dedication,' she said.
'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,' the party president added.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also conveyed his deepest condolences to the bereaved family.
'With great sadness, the nation receives the news of the unfortunate demise of our former president Shri Pranab Mukherjee,' he said.
Venugopal said Mukherjee has left an indelible imprint on the politics and life of the nation.
'A statesman, leader, parliamentarian and visionary, Mukherjee served in many capacities in the party and the government ministries in his long career of over 50 years.' 'Known for his elephantine memory and insightful views, he contributed immensely to the Congress Party in various capacities,' Venugopal said.
Other Congress leaders, including Ahmed Patel, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Mallikarjun Kharge and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, also expressed grief over Mukherjee's demise.
Patel said Mukherjee was like his elder brother. 'His demise has left a permanent vacuum in India's public life. He was an encyclopaedia of Indian politics,' he said.
Priyanka Gandhi said the entire nation has suffered an irreparable loss.
'Pranab da was a guiding force for the entire Congress family and was an able politician. My deep condolences. May God grant courage to his family in this hour of grief to bear this loss,' she tweeted in Hindi.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, 'Passing away of former President Sh Pranab Mukherjee is a great loss to the nation as well as a personal loss to me. Pranab Da was truly a friend, philosopher and guide for me. His contributions to Congress and this nation are unparalleled. Heartfelt condolences to his family.' Kharge in his letter to Mukherjee's son Abhijit said India has lost one of its greatest leaders and the country mourns losing its worthiest sons who remained rooted to ground irrespective of the high offices he held.
Chowdhury described the late leader as an epitome of an institution who during his entire political carrier had been exhausting all his energies for the growth of the nation. The loss of a man of prodigious dimension is simply irretrievable, he said.
'In the Congress tradition, Pranab Ji was the only person at this time with whom there could be a long dialogue on the broader aspects of history, culture and politics. This is an irreparable loss. My humble tributes,' former AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said.
Former Union minister Ashwani Kumar said Mukherjee was a virtual encyclopedia of the nation's political and parliamentary history and very early in his political life his talents were recognised by Indira Gandhi. 'A grateful nation will remember its great son with reverence and gratitude,' Kumar said.
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