Punjab governor Shivraj Patil, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, state Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh and other dignitaries from the state have expressed grief over the demise of former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral.
Patil said Gujral was a seasoned politician and a good administrator who strived for the upliftment of the poor. He expressed sympathies with the bereaved family and prayed to the Almighty for the peace to the departed soul.
Badal, in his condolence message, described Gujral as a true patriot, an eminent statesman, able administrator and distinguished parliamentarian, besides a fine human being with rare qualities of the head and the heart.
"Gujral was a true son of the soil as he was instrumental in waiving the long-pending debt of Punjab during his stint as the PM," Badal said.
Badal recalled his long association with Gujral, saying that the former PM always went all out to resolve any Punjab-related issue. He said Punjabis would always remember Gujral's immense contribution in ushering an era of unprecedented development and progress in the state.
"Gujral's forthright initiatives in fostering goodwill, trust, peace and amity in the Indian subcontinent, especially in strengthening India-Pakistan relations, would ever be remembered," Badal said.
These initiatives, popularly known as the 'Gujral doctrine' were widely admired in the international polity for bringing peace and friendship, besides improving India-Pakistan ties, the CM said.
He stated that Gujral's initiatives had laid the foundation of ongoing steps in the form of confidence-building measures (CBMs) to further smoothen relations between both countries.
"Gujral was an institution in himself, who played a proactive role in promoting the ethos of democracy by strengthening the bonds of national integration, communal harmony and universal brotherhood, besides a true champion of freedom of the Press," Badal said.
Badal also termed Gujral's demise as a personal loss, and a void that would not be filled in the national and international polity.
He shared his sympathies with members of the bereaved family, especially Gujral's son, Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral.
In his condolence message, Amarinder remembered the legacy of Gujral as a man much more than a politician. He also recalled the 'Gujral doctrine' aimed at strengthening relations with the country's neighbours.
"The country will miss a great visionary," he said.
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal remembered the former Prime Minister as a visionary for his doctrine, waiver of Punjab's huge debt and for sanctioning the Pushpa Gujral Science City in Kapurthala.
Public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia and other ministers also condoled Gujral's death, remembering the departed leader as a great visionary not only for Punjab but also for the entire subcontinent.
Hooda, Chautala mourn death
Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Friday expressed grief over the death of IK Gujral.
In his condolence message, Hooda described Gujral as a seasoned parliamentarian. The chief minister conveyed his sympathies to members of the bereaved family and prayed for the peace of the departed soul.
Indian National Lok Dal leader and former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala also condoled Gujral's demise. He said Gujral lived a simple life, was hardworking and an honest leader from a freedom fighter's family.
'A gem of a person'
Inder Kumar Gujral's friends and admirers remember him as a gem of a person and a multi-faceted personality.
Hotelier and social worker NS Nanda, founder president of the Dhan Pothohar brotherhood, Punjab, said, "Our orgainsation was founded to bring people from Dhan and Pothohar areas of Pakistan under one umbrella. Gujral was its chief patron."
Going down memory lane, Nanda said: "Whenever I visited New Delhi, I used to stay at his house. He last attended a function organised here by our organisation in 2003. He was particularly concerned about Punjab. People of the state recognise his contribution," he said.
Retired professor NS Tasneem, a Sahitya Akademi award-winner, recalled his meeting with Gujral during the Dhan-Pothohar function. "Gujral's death is a big loss to the world of literature. He was a great admirer of Urdu literature and was fond of writings of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Sahir Ludhianvi and Ahmad Faraz," Tasneem said.
Gujral's admirers Dr R Vatsyayan termed him a diplomat and a gentleman. "He reframed the five principles of diplomacy (Panchsheel) in the Gujral doctrine. With his demise, we have lost an important link with the pre-Partition period," he added.