Mumbai: Expressing grief over the sudden demise of Union Rural Development Development Minister Gopinath Munde, Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan today described him as a "Lok Nayak" and a parliamentarian, who never lost touch with the masses.
In a condolence message, the Governor said: "The sudden and untimely demise of Gopinath Munde barely one week after becoming the Union Minister for Rural Development, has caused deep anguish and sorrow to the people of Maharashtra. He was one of the most charismatic leaders who had the potential to provide leadership to the state and assume even higher responsibilities at the national level."
An organisation man, Munde had risen to the ranks in public life by dint of hard work, especially for the poor and the downtrodden. Despite holding various positions in public life, Munde never lost touch with the masses at the grassroots level, he said.
He was an astute parliamentarian who left his imprint on every position that he held in public life, be it as the leader of the Opposition, as state home minister, as a deputy chief minister or as general secretary of his party, he said.
"Munde`s contribution to the state was vast and varied. He was a Lok Nayak," the governor said.
He conveyed condolences to Munde`s family and to his countless admirers.
Grief-stricken BJP leaders cancelled their party meeting following the death of Munde.
"The meeting of senior office bearers of the party has been cancelled after paying obituaries to the departed leader," BJP spokesman Prem Mittal said here.
"Iti is an irreparable loss. We are deeply saddened at his passing away," former Assembly Speaker C P Singh said.
"We pray to the Almighty at this hour. May his soul rest in peace," Singh said while fondly remembering Munde`s presence during the inauguration of a statue of Shivaji in Ranchi.