Describing Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy as a "tall leader of contemporary India", the union cabinet on Thursday announced a state funeral for him and ordered the lowering of the national flag to half-mast at all state capitals.
The cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, observed a two-minute silence in memory of the chief minister.
YSR, as the leader was popularly known, was killed when the helicopter he was travelling in crashed on Wednesday on a hilltop in Nallamalla forests of Andhra Pradesh. Air force helicopters found the wrecked chopper with YSR's body and that of four others Thursday morning.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters that the national flag would fly at half-mast in all state capitals on September 3-4 as a tribute to the chief minister.
Besides, the national flag will also be at half-mast atop central government offices in Andhra Pradesh on these two days.
All central government offices in Andhra Pradesh will remain shut on Friday, Soni added.
In a resolution, the cabinet said that YSR "was a tall leader of contemporary India who, through his farsightedness and capable administration, brought tremendous development to the state of Andhra Pradesh".
Recalling his public career from his election to the state assembly at the age of 28 in 1978, the cabinet recorded its "deep sense of grief and loss" and extended condolences to the family and people of Andhra Pradesh.
"He was at the peak of his political career and popularity when the hand of fate intervened. In his death, the country has lost an eminent political leader, a farsighted statesman, an astute administrator, a compassionate human being and, above all, a friend of the poor and the downtrodden," the statement said.