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President, PM join mourners

By Staff
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New Delhi, May 3 (UNI) The tragic death of BJP General Secretary Pramod Mahajan today evoked instant and spontaneous emotions across the nation with top leaders cutting across political lines hailing him as ''a youth icon and a charismatic leader imbued with exceptional organisational skills and an uncanny understanding of political realities''.

President APJ Abdul Kalam, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, several Cabinet ministers, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, BJP leaders L K Advani and Rajnath Singh were among those who condoled the death of Mahajan.

Dr Kalam expressed condolence over the death of Mr Mahajan.

Expressing his profound grief over the ''sad and untimely demise'' of Mahajan, Mr Shekhawat, in his condolence message to Mrs Rekha Mahajan, wife of the late leader, said he was deeply shocked.

''He was a gem of a person who always strove to help others. He was a true nationalist and a mass leader. From a humble beginning as a common man, he rose to high positions of eminence in public life with his dedication and hard work...His passing away at this young age has caused a big void which will be difficult to fill.'' Mr Shekhawat, who will be going to Mumbai tomorrow to attend the cremation, said when he had last visited Mr Mahajan in the hospital, he was hopeful that he would tide over this terrible crisis.

''...but we are all helpless before the destiny.'' Soon after Mr Mahajan's death, 12 days after he was shot allegedly by his younger brother Praveen, Dr Singh conveyed his grief and sorrow to the bereaved family.

Ms Gandhi expressed deep anguish and heart-felt condolences to the bereaved family.

Mr Somnath Chatterjee, who is currently in the Isle of Man to attend a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), said the news of Mr Mahajan's grievous injury on April 22 came as a rude shock to him. ''However, I was hopeful and confident that he would soon overcome the crisis to be with us in the Parliament again...But today, the report of his tragic passing away has shattered all hopes.'' Mr Chatterjee recalled his regular interactions with Mr Mahajan, who was then Parliamentary Affairs Minister. ''These and other interactions have left in me the indelible impression that such dynamic leaders are a great asset to the country.'' MORE UNI SKS SN MSJ RK1905

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