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Narasimha Rao passes away
Both Houses adjourned sine die; seven-day mourning
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 23
Former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, the first leader from outside the Nehru-Gandhi family to head a government at the Centre for a full term, passed away today after a bout of serious illness.

Rao, 83, died of cardiac arrest at 2.20 pm at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where he was admitted in the early hours of December 10.

The government has announced a seven-day national mourning to condole the death of the former Prime Minister. The state funeral of Narasimha Rao will take place in Hyderabad on December 25 at 3.30 pm, according to family sources.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has nominated Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan, to be the Minister in Attendance for assisting the family members of the late leader in all arrangements related to the funeral.

An AIIMS spokesperson said the former Prime Minister was stable till this morning when he developed progressive hypotension and shock with repeated bouts of cardiac arrhythmia though he responded to interventions several times. He later went into a state of cardiac arrest from which he could not be revived.

The spokesperson said Rao was an old patient of diabetes and coronary heart disease. He was admitted to the institute with congestive heart failure when he developed heart rhythm disturbances requiring repeated resuscitation. His condition improved and he was kept in intensive care. However, Rao developed a serious respiratory problem, requiring reinstatement of life-support system, including dialysis for kidney failure, the spokesperson said.

Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die in the afternoon today, the last day of the Winter Session, after mourning the passing away of the former Prime Minister.

In the Rajya Sabha, the announcement about Rao’s death was made by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachauri, after which Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat said he and the entire House were saddened by the news.

In the Lok Sabha, Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee announced the passing away of Rao and made a submission that the House be adjourned sine die.

Agreeing with the submission made by the Leader of the House, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee announced adjournment of the Lower House after paying tributes to Rao and the playing of Vande Matram.

Both the Houses observed two-minute silence to pay respects to Rao.

The former Prime Minister leaves behind three sons and five daughters. Mr P.V. Prabhakar Rao, the youngest son, was at his bedside when the end came.

Deeply mourning the demise of Rao, the resolution passed by the Union Cabinet expressed sincere condolences on behalf of the entire nation to the bereaved family.

The resolution said the former Prime Minister would be remembered for his dedicated service to the nation and for the leadership and guidance he provided in the economic reforms and liberalisation.

“Throughout his long public life, he constantly strove for the betterment of the common man,” the resolution said.

It said the former Prime Minister was a statesman, scholar and linguist and a man of many interests. “He leaves his imprint in various areas of our national life. His sensitivity and love for music and the arts, marked him as an exceptional human being.”

The resolution said that Rao possessed an ideal political temperament and his wisdom and detachment impressed one and all. “He had special interest in Indian philosophy and culture, writing fiction and political commentary, learning languages, writing poetry in Telugu and Hindi, and keeping abreast of literature in general. He lectured at various universities in the USA and Germany. He was a sophisticated, suave, scholarly and visionary leader,” it said.


Kalam, PM mourn Rao’s death
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 23
President APJ Abdul Kalam, Vice-President Bhairon Singh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi were among the leaders who visited the residence of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao to pay tributes to him.

Dr Kalam, Mr Shekhawat, Dr Singh and Ms Gandhi reached Rao’s 9, Moti Lal Nehru Marg residence soon after his body was brought there from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where he breathed his last.

Among others were Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, K. Chandrashekar Rao and Dayanidhi Maran, former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral, Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit, senior Congress leader Ambika Soni and senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj.

Condoling the passing away of the former Prime Minister, Dr Kalam said that the late leader was a multi-faceted personality, a statesman and a leader who contributed to the nation in various capacities during his long and distinguished political career. “He was a scholar and a linguist and a distinguished parliamentarian,” the President said.

Dr Kalam said that the late leader will be always remembered for initiating economic reforms in the country during his tenure as PM. Describing the late leader as “great son of India,” the President said that the country had lost a great leader in Rao’s demise.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hailed the great leader as an “elder statesman, a unique phenomenon in Indian politics and father of economic reforms in India”.

“Raoji was a true patriot, a nationalist to the core, a visionary, a builder, a reformer and, without doubt, a statesman,” Dr Singh said in a condolence message saying the former Prime Minister’s death was a “personal loss for me”.

Dr Singh, who worked as Finance Minister in the Rao government, said that at a time when India was gripped by national sorrow and a grave tragedy and a serious economic crisis, it was fortunate to reach out to an “elder statesman” like Rao.

The Prime Minister said he valued Rao’s guidance, advice, support and friendship. “He was generous to a fault in extending each of these to me with grace and affection”.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the country lost a veteran parliamentarian who played a long and industrious innings in politics, first in Andhra Pradesh and later at the national level.

In a condolence message to Rao’s immediate family, Ms Gandhi said that his rich contribution both as Prime Minister and Congress President would always be remembered.

Rao served as a member of the Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi governments before taking over as Prime Minister after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, she added.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee hailed Rao as “father of reforms” and “modern Chanakya”. Mr Vajpayee today said the former Prime Minister’s demise has marked the “end of an era”.

Recalling his association with Rao, Mr Vajpayee said “we looked towards him as a national leader. He had a broad vision and always strived for a consensus on policy issues.”

Former Prime Minister VP Singh said that the late leader gave an impetus to the economic process in the country initiated by Rajiv Gandhi. He said Rao was one of the stalwarts of the country’s freedom struggle and a fine human being.

Remembering Rao for the “singular contributions” he made to various spheres of national life, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said he deeply mourned the former Prime Minister’s death.

The CPI condoled Rao’s death, remembering him as one among the veteran leaders of the Congress.

“His five-year term as Prime Minister was full of events and controversies,” the CPI said in its condolence message.

In his condolence message, Home Minister Shivraj Patil described Rao as “a distinguished statesman and architect of economic reforms in the country.”

Condoling Rao’s death, Information and Broadcasting Minister Jaipal Reddy described the departed leader as a “traditional scholar in politics” and said “he will go down in history as a great economic liberaliser, as a politician who was a linguist and a scholar.”

Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Railway Minister Laloo Prasad, NCP chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Minister for Youth and Sports Sunil Dutt were among those who condoled the death of the former Prime Minister.

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