President, Vice President, PM condole Bhairon Singh Shekhawat's demise

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New Delhi, May 15 (ANI): Leaders across the political spectrum on Saturday condoled the sad demise of the former Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil condoled the death of Shekhawat, saying the country had lost a great statesman and a man of political repute.

Vice President M. Hamid Ansari expressed his grief and said that Shekhawat had a glorious record of service to the country and the people in his many years in public life.

"He earned the respect and admiration of the people for his dedication, sense of public service and innate simplicity. His services to the country shall always be remembered," he added.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh expressed his grief and said Shekhawatji was one of the tallest leaders that Rajasthan has produced. His life epitomized hard work and commitment to the public cause.

"His early years were difficult. Poverty forced him to quit school after which he found a job as a police constable. Indeed, it is a tribute to his leadership qualities that he overcame the disadvantages of his early life to carve out a sterling career in public service," he added.

Dr Singh also said Shekhawatji excelled in all positions he held. As the Vice-President of our country he worked to uphold our Constitution and our secular ethos.

"The void that he had left behind will be very difficult to fill," he added.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said: "We have lost an elder politician and leader who served his country and people in various senior positions with dedication and commitment.

"His contribution as Chief Minister of Rajasthan and as Vice President of India will always be remembered," he added.

BJP senior leader LK Advani said the party had lost a great leader and an able administrator.

"He was an asset to the party who has always worked for the upliftment of the rural masses," Advani added.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari said Shekhawat services to the party would always be remembered.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot described Shekhawat's demise as a loss to the nation and the end of an era. He also said he always tried to put forward the social, economic and political problems of the state.

Union Minister Farooq Abdullah termed the departed leader a gentleman who had friends across the political spectrum.

Shekhawat died at the Sawai Man Singh Hospital here on Saturday. He was 87.

He was admitted to the ICU of the hospital on May 13 after he complained of uneasiness and breathing trouble.

His funeral will take place in Jaipur on Sunday with full state honours.

According to family sources, the embalmed body will be kept at his bungalow in Jaipur's Civil Lines area to enable people to pay their last respects.

The Rajasthan state Cabinet met in Jaipur and announced a state mourning for a period of three days.

His body will later be taken to the BJP office before cremation at the Chandpol ground.orn on October 23, 1923, Shekhawat was the 11th Vice-President of India.

He served in that position from August 2002. He was elected for a five-year term by the electoral college following the death of Krishan Kant and resigned on July 21, 2007 after losing the presidential election to Pratibha Patil.

He served as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan thrice from 1977 to 1980, 1990 to 1992, and 1993 to 1998. (ANI)

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