New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi led the nation in mourning the death of former Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran, hailing him as a "visionary" leader and a "true patriot."
Prime Minister Singh will attend the funeral of Karunakaran in Thrissur on Saturday, an official said tonight.
In her condolence message, Patil said the nation has lost the "longest serving public figure and a visionary."
"The nation has lost a personality who was always in touch with grassroots," she added.
Vice President Hamid Ansari noted that Karunakaran had a significant record" of service to the country and especially to the state of Kerala during his many years in public life.
Prime Minister Singh said Karunakaran was a true patriot who served the country and Kerala with deep commitment and untiring zeal in a public career spanning more than six decades.
Singh said he had the privilege of benefiting from Karunakaran’s wisdom and experience many times. "He was generous with his advice, which was always sagacious," he said, adding the former chief minister was widely respected for his qualities of head and heart.
Sonia Gandhi said the party has lost a national leader who was a voice of secularism and national integrity.
"In his death, the Congress party has lost not only a
great leader from Kerala but also a national leader who was a
voice for secularism and national integrity. In his death, the
Congress party has lost a great leader whose absence will be
deeply felt by all Congressmen across the country," Gandhi
said in her condolence message.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said Karunakaran
was a political stalwart and "tall" leader of the Congress
party who served the nation with distinction and acumen.
Krishna said that Karunakaran during his several innings
as chief minister of Kerala was instrumental in bringing about
rapid socio-economic development of the state.
Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Karunakaran
will be remembered for his "kind-heartedness and his
In his condolence message, Union Law Minister M Veerappa
Moily said Karunakaran was his "great well-wisher" and the
demise of the veteran leader has "shocked" him.
"In the loss of a veteran leader like Karunakaran, we
have lost a great son of India and a great statesman," Moily
AICC general secretary in-charge of Kerala Mohsina Kidwai
also condoled the passing away of Karunakaran.
"In his death, Congress in Kerala has lost a very
prominent and tall leader," she said.