New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday condoled the demise of former Prime Minister I K Gujral.

In his brief message, the President expressed grief over Gujral's demise, Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Venu Rajamony said.

92-year-old Gujral passed away on Friday at Medicity Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon after a multi-organ failure.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi also condoled the death of Gujral.

Condoling the former Prime Minister's demise, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "The country has lost a totally different kind of a leader today. I pray to God that may his soul rest in peace and may God give his family the strength to bear this grief."

Senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury expressed grief at the death of Gujral, saying, "He had rendered long and committed service to the nation."

Yechury said he was closely associated with Gujral when he was the Prime Minister during the United Front rule and conveyed condolences to his son and Rajya Sabha colleague Naresh Gujral.

In his message, Defence Minister A K Antony said, "Gujral was a seasoned and astute politician who dedicated his entire life for the cause of the nation spanning over a period of over seventy years. He not only took part in the country's freedom struggle but also contributed significantly to nation building.

"Never afraid of speaking his mind he was instrumental in coming out with bold ideas for conflict resolution in our immediate and extended neighbourhood. Gujral rendered yeoman service in various capacities – as a statesman, as a diplomat and above all, as a thinker," Antony said.

The Defence Minister cancelled a banquet which he was to host in the honour of the visiting Korean Defence Minister Kim Kwan Jin later this evening.

The Communist Party of India also condoled Gujral's death, saying the former Prime Minister would "always be remembered by the people of India as an exemplary leader who always stood for democracy, peace, independence and social justice."

Recalling the party's association with him during his student days, CPI said it remembered Gujral "for his progressive role to build up the peace, friendship and solidarity movement in support of the struggling people the world over."


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