New Delhi, Jan.2 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has condoled the passing away of veteran Congressman and former Lok Sabha Speaker Bali Ram Bhagat.
In his condolence message to Naveen Bhagat, son of the departed leader, Dr. Singh described Bali Ram Bhagat as a freedom fighter, a great patriot and a veteran politician who was deeply committed to the cause of the people.
"In Bhagatji's passing away, the country has lost a freedom fighter, a great patriot, and a veteran politician who was deeply committed to the cause of his people. Bhagatji's long journey in the service of the nation began when he joined the freedom struggle as a student at the young age of seventeen," said Dr. Singh.
"After independence, he was elected to the first Parliament. This was the beginning of a distinguished career as a parliamentarian in which he was a member of the Lok Sabha for seven terms, including five consecutive ones," he added.
Bhagatji brought distinction to the diverse positions he held as a public servant. He served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance in the first government of the Republic and was made Deputy Finance Minister in 1956, a responsibility which he held for seven years.
He also served as the Minister of State for Planning, Defence and External Affairs before being elevated to the Cabinet rank in 1969. Bhagatji became the Lok Sabha Speaker in 1976 and upheld the highest traditions of this office. He also served as Governor of Rajasthan in the late nineties.
Dr. Singh further said that he had the privilege of knowing Bhagatji for a very long time. I have lost a very close friend and a valued colleague in his sad demise. His commitment to the welfare of his people and his achievements in diverse areas of public service will continue to serve as an inspiration to all of us.
Meanwhile, vice president Mohammad Hamid Ansari condoled the death Bali Ram Bhagat and expressed grief over the demise former Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
"I am deeply grieved to learn about the sad demise of Shri Bali Ram Bhagat, a veteran freedom fighter, eminent Parliamentarian and former Speaker of the Lok Sabha, former Union Cabinet Minister and Governor," said Ansari
"Shri Bhagat achieved prominence through his participation in the freedom movement and thereafter his election to the Provisional Parliament. During his long years in public life, he had worked for the upliftment of the poor and the downtrodden and earned respect and admiration of the people for his dedication and honesty. His services to the country shall always be remembered," he added. (ANI)