Sunday, July 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Krishan Kant dead
3-day state mourning; cremation today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
Vice-President Krishan Kant died here today of a massive heart attack. He was 75 and is survived by his wife Suman, mother, two sons and a daughter.

Mr Kant was rushed to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the morning and the efforts of a panel of doctors to revive him failed. The end came a little before 9 A.M. and his wife and two sons were by his side.

That Mr Kant was off-colour was discernible over the last few days. Hailing from a family of freedom fighters and having gone to jail himself at the young age of 15 during the Quit India Movement, he was to have completed his term as the 10th Vice-President in 24 days.

Mr Kant is the first Vice-President to die in office and the Union Government has announced a three-day state mourning. The BJP-led NDA government was caught in a cleft stick and studying the Constitution about the next step as there are no precedents.

Immediately on hearing the sudden and shocking news of his death, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, leaders of all political parties and his associates rushed to the AIIMS to pay their respects to the departed leader.

An emergency meeting of the Union Cabinet was held in the forenoon where a two-minute silence was observed in memory of Mr Kant. The Cabinet adopted a resolution describing Mr Kant as a great patriot who made an outstanding contribution to public life, besides being an ardent champion of civil liberties.

Mr Kant will be given a state funeral tomorrow evening at the Nigambodh Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna.

The Cabinet resolution said: ďIn his (Mr Kantís) passing away, the nation has lost a great patriot who made an outstanding contribution to public life. He imbibed the spirit of patriotism very early in life, having been imprisoned during the Quit India Movement.

ďHe advocated progressive and democratic ideals as a functionary of the Congress and, later, the Janata Party. He was imprisoned for his courageous opposition to the Emergency rule in 1975. As a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1966 to 1977, and of the Lok Sabha until 1980, Mr Kant spoke with great conviction on a wide range of issues such as land reforms, electoral reforms and Press freedom. He was an ardent champion of civil liberties.

The resolution drew attention to Mr Kant serving with distinction as the Governor of Andhra Pradesh before being elected as the Vice-President in 1977. His performance as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha will long be remembered for the sagacity, dignity and sense of purpose he brought to the proceedings.

He was also an educationist and a man of letters, with a keen love for Urdu poetry from his early days.

The Union Home Ministry issued a black bordered extraordinary gazette notification announcing the death of Vice-President Kant and ordering the national flag to be flown at half-mast throughout the country.



Krishan Kantís death mourned
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, July 27
The Governors and Chief Ministers of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and other leaders today expressed grief over the demise of Mr Krishan Kant, Vice-President, who passed away following a massive heart attack in New Delhi this morning.

In a condolence message the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said Mr Kant was a true patriot, a seasoned politician and an efficient administrator, who served the country with distinction. Punjabis would remain indebted to him for his firm stand against separatist and anti-national forces.

The Punjab Council of Ministers at a meeting today condoled the death of the Vice-President and passed a resolution.

Ms Parneet Kaur, Member of Parliament, also condoled the death of Mr Kant.

The Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, expressing sorrow, described Mr Kant as a nationalist and Gandhian.

Meanwhile, the Haryana Government has declared state mourning for three days from today as a mark of respect to Mr Kant.

The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, described Mr Kant as a great freedom fighter, revolutionary and seasoned parliamentarian.

Mr Chautala was to preside over a function organised by Haryana Sahitya Academy here today to give away awards to outstanding writers of the state which was postponed due to the demise of the Vice-President.

He has also cancelled his official programmes scheduled for tomorrow, including the foundation stone laying ceremony of Panipat

Thermal Power Station units in view of the state mourning. A public meeting at Malana village of Panipat district, scheduled to be addressed by the Chief Minister tomorrow, was also cancelled.

The Haryana Governor, Babu Parmanand, and Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, president of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, also mourned the death.

SHIMLA: Dr Suraj Bhan, Governor said Mr Krishan Kant was a great patriot and an able parliamentarian who worked relentlessly for the poor and underprivileged sections of society.

The Himachal Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, said that in his death, country had lost a freedom fighter who had played a significant role in the Quit India Movement.

Mrs Vidya Stokes, PCC Chief, and Mr Virbhadra Singh, Congress Legislative Party leader, and several other leaders also mourned the death of Mr Kant.

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Mr G.C. Saxena, said Mr Kantís services to the nation in his public life of over four decades would be long remembered by the people of the country.

The Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, said that with the death of Mr Kant, India had lost a stalwart the freedom struggle of era.

LUDHIANA: Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, All-India Shiromani Akali Dal and Member, Rajya Sabha, mourning the demise of the Vice-President, said the country had lost an honest politician.

DHARAMSALA: The Union Rural Development Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, expressed shock over the death of the Vice-President.

He had arrived at Palampur to take part in a felicitation programme organised by the local Nagar Parishad which was cancelled.

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