President Mukherjee condoles Vidya Charan Shukla's demise

New Delhi, June 11 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee has condoled the passing away of veteran Congress leader Vidya Charan Shukla.

"Shri Shukla was son of illustrious freedom fighter and first Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Pt. Ravishankar Shukla. He entered into Parliament at a very early age and represented undivided Madhya Pradesh in the Lok Sabha for a long period of time," said President Mukherjee in a condolence message to the former Union Minister's wife Sarla Shukla.

" He served as Minister of State under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from 1967 to 1977 including as Minister of State with Independent Charge of Information and Broadcasting. He also served as Cabinet Minister under Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao during 1991-96 in charge of Parliamentary Affairs and Irrigation," he added.

President Mukherjee further said Vidya Charan Shukla was a veteran Parliamentarian, able administrator and an outstanding statesman.

"Shri Shukla made valuable contribution to the growth of our nation in various capacities. The nation will remember his contributions and his pursuit of excellence in public life," President Mukherjee said.

"I had a long personal association with Shri Shukla. In his death, I have lost a friend and the nation an eminent public figure," he added.

Vidya Charan Shukla, 84, breathed his last at the Medanta Medicity Hospital in Gurgaon this afternoon after battling the bullet injuries that he sustained in the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh last month.

Shukla, who was critically injured in the Maoist attack on May 25, was airlifted to the Medanta Medicity Hospital from Raipur a day after the attack.

Heavily-armed Maoists had on May 25 ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in the state's Bastar district, killing 28 people including PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel, his son Dinesh, Congress leader Mahendra Karma and ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar and injuring 37 others.

The Chhattisgarh Government has announced a three-day official mourning. His body will be flown to Raipur and the last rites will take place with full state honors tomorrow.

For the general elections in 1957, the Congress Party chose him as their Lok Sabha candidate from Mahasamund constituency. He won with a thumping majority and entered the Parliament of India as one of the youngest Parliamentarians.

He returned elected to Lok Sabha nine times in subsequent elections. When Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1966, she chose him as a Minister in her Cabinet.

In a long span of political career, he has held many portfolios including Communications, Home, Defence, Finance, Planning, Information and Broadcasting, Civil Supplies, External Affairs, Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources. (ANI)