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 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.