Former PM Gujral dead
Ex-statesman’s doctrine calmed the region
The 92-year-old Left-leaning liberal breathed his last at 3.27 pm due to multi-organ failure, family sources said. He was admitted to hospital on November 19 with lung infection.
The former Prime Minister, who was on ventilator support, has been unwell for sometime. He has been on dialysis for over a year and suffered a serious chest infection some days ago.
Gujral leaves two sons, one of whom, Naresh Gujral, is a Rajya Sabha MP and an Akali Dal leader. His another son, Vishal Gujral, was till recently a professor in the US. His wife Sheila, who died in 2011, was a poet. His brother Satish Gujral is a prominent painter and architect.
The body will be kept at his residence on Janpath in central Delhi on Saturday morning for public to pay respects and will be cremated at 3 pm near Samata Sthal, the memorial of late Jagjivan Ram.
The Union Cabinet met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here in the evening and expressed condolences. The government declared a seven-day national mourning as a mark of respect. The news of his death was conveyed to Parliament by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde after which both the Houses were adjourned. On Monday, both Houses of Parliament will meet and adjourn after paying condolences.
Leaders cutting across party lines including President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Leaders of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely were among those who paid glowing tributes to the late leader.
"In his passing, the country has lost an intellectual, a scholar-statesman and a gentleman politician whose liberal and humanist vision was rooted in teachings of the leaders of our freedom movement," the Prime Minister said in his message.
Observing that Gujral's vision of a prosperous South Asia at peace with itself leaves a lasting legacy, Singh said he will be missed in the region.
In his brief message, the President expressed grief over Gujral's demise, Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Venu Rajamony said.
Defence Minister A K Antony cancelled the banquet he was hosting in honour of visiting South Korean Defence Minister Kim Kwan Jin following the death of Gujral.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi expressed deep grief over the death of former prime minister, who she hailed for his ability, sagacity and deep understanding of national and international affairs.
In his condolence message, Vice President Hamid Ansari said that Gujral was a distinguished leader and an outstanding public figure. Ansari also cancelled a lunch which was to be hosted by him on Saturday.
The State government on Friday declared seven days mourning following the death of Gujral. Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar has cancelled all his official programmes scheduled for the next two days, according to the Chief Minister’s office.