Cutting across ideologies, the BJP and Left parties paid homage to the former South African President, Nelson Mandela, who passed away on Thursday after a prolonged illness.

BJP leaders said the world had lost an apostle of peace and non-violence who inspired people across the world to stand against injustice and discrimination. Party president Rajnath Singh said he was deeply saddened to hear the news of Mr. Mandela’s demise. He was an inspiring hero, who fought against discrimination and injustice to people all his life. “Nelson Mandela believed in Gandhian methods and philosophy and became an iconic figure who gave up his own freedom to ensure freedom for his people.’’

BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi said on Twitter, “The world has lost an apostle of peace & non-violence who redefined the journey of his nation for the good of humankind.”

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) said: “In Mandela’s demise, the world has lost one of its finest sons who fought lifelong for the betterment of the people’s living conditions. He was a true champion of the people of Third World countries and all those who are oppressed and exploited. In his death, all the people fighting for freedom and against injustice have lost a valuable ally and a comrade-in-arms. His death is a great loss to humanity. At the same time his life and work remain a source of celebration in the onward march of humanity for freedom and liberty.’’

In a statement, the CPI(M) said: “He is a symbol of all the people of the world struggling for freedom, democracy and human dignity.’’

CPI general secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy said Mr. Mandela was one of the greatest freedom fighters and leaders of the National Liberation Movement of this century. “He was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and built up a very powerful and peaceful movement in South Africa to end apartheid. It was a very difficult task to mobilise tribes and difficult political streams of South Africa. But he successfully mobilised all these sections,” he said in a condolence message.

Dipankar Bhattacharya of the CPI(ML) said Mr. Mandela has left behind a lasting legacy of determined struggle against discrimination and oppression, for liberty and justice.

The All India Forward Bloc said Mr. Mandela’s incessant struggle for freedom and his imprisonment of long 27 years would be written in the annals of history with golden letters.

The Centre for Trade Unions said, “Nelson Mandela’s life will continue to be a great inspiration to the struggles of the toiling classes against exploitation and imperialism.’’

Another Mahatma, says Gowda

The former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, recalled the bilateral agreement signed by him with President Mandela on March 29, 1997 in Delhi and discussions held on strategic issues with him. Mr. Gowda, who is also the president of the JD(S), described Mr. Mandela as a “great man” and “another Mahatma of the world.”

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