New Delhi: Union Ministers on Friday condoled the demise of former Prime Minister I K Gujral and described him as a person who practised the politics of idealism and conviction.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that Gujral, also a former Foreign Minister, represented India absolutely well.     "He was a talented person, well read and also a writer," he told reporters outside the Parliament House.

Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said, "I am deeply grieved... He practised the politics of idealism and conviction. Succeeding generations would be inspired by him."
He said he had a personal relationship with the former Prime Minister, who was a freedom fighter and patriot. "I always received affection from him like a father treats his son," he said.

Kumar said Gujral's core interest was foreign policy. "A joke was going around (at that time) that if you have Gujral in Moscow, then there is no need in Russia for a foreign minister... He had balanced views and believed in Nehruvian policies," he said.

Railway Minister Pavan Kumar Bansal said that Gujral's demise "is a big loss to the country". Expressing condolences, Bansal said that Gujral "followed value-based politics. He was a remarkable, great and one of the rare Parliamentarians".

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) V Narayanasamy said that Gujral was a very learned person as well as a voracious reader.

"I pray to God to give courage to his family. He had handled important issues. He worked for the development of the country. Gujral was the Prime Minister at a crucial period and carried on the coalition partners," Narayanasamy said.

"It is a great loss to the nation. Rather I would say an irreparable loss to the nation. He was very active in public life with impeccable integrity. He has left behind a great legacy of probity and also statesmanship," Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily said.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar also condoled the death of Gujral, terming it as an "irreparable loss to the country".

The Editors Guild of India also condoled the passing away of Gujral.

"Apart from being Information and Broadcasting Minister in his early career of political life, he served the country as an astute and successful diplomat and later as Minister of External Affairs," the Guild said in a statement.

It said Gujral would be remembered for his efforts to seek conflict resolutions in the South Asia region. The Guild also hailed him as a champion of Freedom of press, someone who was always accessible to media.

Describing Gujral as an outstanding statesman, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said as Prime Minister he took a number of significant decisions in the best interest of the country though his tenure was for a brief period.

"He was an Urdu scholar and staunch supporter of democratic values. His contribution will always be remembered," the Delhi Chief Minister said.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna expressed grief over the death of former Prime Minister Indra Kumar Gujral, saying it is a great loss for the country.

"Gujral's demise is a great loss for the country and the void created by his death is difficult to fill," Bahuguna said in his condolence message.

Uttar Pradesh Governor B L Joshi said with former PM Gujral's death the country has lost a leader of rare brilliance and dedication.

He served the nation in various important capacities and his dedication would be long remembered, the Governor said while praying for the peace of departed soul.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said that Gujral was simple, sensitive leader with deep knowledge of foreign affairs.

He said that an expert in several languages, the former PM made an active contribution in freedom struggle and went to jail.

SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav said that with Gujral's demise the country has lost an able administrator, diplomat and learned politician.

Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan expressed his grief over the demise of Gujral and called him "a brilliant statesman and a gentleman of finer tastes".

"On behalf of the people of Maharashtra and on my own behalf, I pay my respects to the loving memory of late Inder Kumar Gujral," he said.

The Bihar government declared a three-day state mourning on death of the former Prime Minister.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said Gujral's death has created a big vacuum in the politics of the country. As soon as news of Gujral's death came, Kumar announced a three-day state mourning from Friday itself, an official statement said here.

RJD President Lalu Prasad, who was on way to Supual in Bihar as part of his 'Parivartan Rally' from tomorrow, expressed sorrow over Gujral's death.

Gujral had contested from Patna in the 1991 mid-term Parliamentary polls as Janata Dal candidate with Prasad's support but the election was countermanded following complaints of large-scale irregularities.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in his message recalled that during Gujral's tenure as Prime Minister and also a ministers holding key portfolios, he had contributed immensely to the all-round development of the country.

Goa Governor B V Wanchoo, in his message to Naresh Gujral, said, "I am deeply grieved to learn about the sad demise of your beloved father".

In his condolence message, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Kumar Jena said, "Gujral was a man of exceptional personality, courage and intellect. He was a part of India's Freedom struggle and was jailed during the Quit India Movement."

People of the country have lost a great person in Gujrat, who formulated the Gujral Doctrine, which is a set of five principles to guide the conduct of foreign relations with India's immediate neighbours, the senior Congress leader said.

Janta Dal (U) chief Sharad Yadav, in his condolence message, remembered Gujral as a man of "extraordinary intellect".

"I K Gujral had a long inning in public life and he was a man of extraordinary knowledge and intellect. In every sense he was a true statesman," Yadav said.

Recalling his association with the departed leader, he said, "I was the president of Janta Dal when Gujral was elected as the Prime Minister from the Party. His death is a loss not only to the political parties but the country."

Lok Janshakti Party leader Ramvilas Paswan said, "I had a long association with Gujral. His death has caused immense loss to the Indian politics."

Paswan was the Union Railways Minister in Gujral's United Front government.

Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh and Leader of the Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Ajay Singh condoled the demise of Gujral.

In separate statements, the two leaders said the country had lost an able leader and extended their condolences to the bereaved family.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said Gujral's untimely death is a great loss to the nation.

"He was an ideal politician and statesman who served the nation in various capacities. He was committed to every task that he performed and set precedents which will be difficult to emulate", Tewari said in his message.

"He also left a deep imprint on foreign policy matters. His death has left a void which will be difficult to fill. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and Leader of Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu today condoled the death of Gujral.

The Chief Minister said Gujral was an able administrator and parliamentarian and in his death the nation lost an "intellectual leader and a senior politician".

Chandrababu Naidu, who played a key role in making Gujral the Prime Minister in 1997, said the latter was a true patriot since childhood and went to jail during the Quit India Movement in 1942.

"As Prime Minister, Gujral gave a clean and honest administration to the country," the former Chief Minister said.


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