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Shock across political spectrum at YSR's death

Political leaders across the spectrum mourned the death of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, hailing him as a 'man of determination, charisma and conviction.'

india Updated: Sep 03, 2009 14:42 IST

Political leaders across the spectrum on Thursday mourned the death of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, hailing him as a "man of determination, charisma and conviction".

A pall of gloom descended on Congress party offices headquarters where its flags flew at half mast. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also flew its flag at half mast at its headquarters in New Delhi.

"It is a tremendous loss. He was a dynamic chief minister. A towering and successful leader of the state and the Congress party," party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said after the bodies of YSR, as he is popularly known, and four others were found in Kurnool district where their helicopter crashed on Wednesday.

"He was very practical. He always wanted to achieve specific goals. He was a man on the move," she added. "I am sure there is much more he could have achieved."

She said party president Sonia Gandhi was in constant touch with YSR's family.

YSR's main political rival, Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu, told reporters in Hyderabad that beyond political differences, he had great friendship with the deceased chief minister. "We were very good friends. He was a man of conviction and charisma. I am shocked," he said.

Veteran BJP leader LK Advani said in a message: "I am deeply saddened to know that the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, YS Rajasekhara Reddy, has died in a tragic helicopter accident. I condole his untimely and tragic death."

Advani added, "The people of Andhra Pradesh and the country at large have lost a very able and popular leader of (the) masses."

Condoling Reddy's death, BJP president Rajnath Singh said, "The sudden death of YSR is an irreparable loss. He was the son of the soil and has always worked for the poor. He is known for good governance."

"I am deeply saddened by his sudden death. I extend my heartfelt sympathy to his family."

In a statement, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat said: "The death of Rajasekhara Reddy in a tragic helicopter accident has shocked everyone. His untimely death is a big loss for Andhra Pradesh and the Congress."

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader AB Bardhan said Reddy was a "very dynamic national leader. We had our differences......but there is no difference (in opinion) that he was indeed a dynamic person. It's a big tragedy, a very sad end to a brilliant career."

Bardhan's colleague D Raja said it's a "big loss not only for Andhra Pradesh but also for the entire country. He was a popular leader".

Renuka Chowdhary, Congress leader and former union minister said: "He was a hands-on chief minister who didn't hesitate to work hard, who didn't hesitate to fight hard. He believed in what he was doing and put his heart, head, voice, money and everything into it.

"It's very difficult to think him in past tense as yet. And the only way to go forward is to look forward and go forward. We can't look back ....democracy doesn't stand still and moves forward and we need to move forward."

The helicopter in which the chief minister, popularly known as YSR, and four others were travelling went missing about 9.30 am on Wednesday. The wreckage of the helicopter was found on Thursday morning on a hilltop in the Nallamalla forest.