Senior Bharatiya Janata Party and Sangh Parivar leaders have condoled the death of veteran Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader and former Rajya Ssabha member Nanaji Deshmukh, 94, describing him as a dedicated social worker, a modern rishi and an elder statesman.
Former Prime Minister and senior BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee said Nanaji was an expert at handling challenges and was a dedicated social worker, lifelong pracharak of the RSS, senior politician and a visionary.
Mr. Deshmukh passed away in Chitrakoot on Saturday after a brief illness.
“He was an expert in handling challenges. There was a magnetic attraction in his personality and whoever came in touch with him remained with him throughout,” Mr. Vajpayee said, adding: “By voluntarily disassociating himself from politics, he became a role model…his death is a loss to society and me personally.”
BJP President Nitin Gadkari also condoled Mr. Deshmukh’s death. “Nanaji was one of the modern rishis of India. One of the early architects of the Jan Sangh, Nanaji firmly stood for true value-based politics. He could rightly be described as idealism personified,” Mr. Gadkari said.
He added that Mr. Deshmukh’s courage of conviction was so strong that he left active politics when he was almost at the pinnacle.
“His work for rural resurgence first at Gonda and later at Chitrakoot is the testimony of his unflinching commitment to the cause. He lived a life, which was unique in several ways,” Mr. Gadkari said.
Senior leader L.K. Advani said he would not celebrate Holi or any other festivities related to it as a mark of respect to the deceased leader.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, in his condolence message, said: “In the death of Nanaji, India has lost an elder statesman, a patriot, and a role model.”
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and RSS also condoled his death. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat condoled Mr. Deshmukh’s death on behalf of the Sangh.
“With him has ended a committed worker who remained pure in spite of entering politics. He was a dedicated swayamsewak whose life was an inspiration,” Mr. Bhagwat said in his message, adding that even after Nanaji’s death, his life works would forever inspire the new generation towards patriotism, sacrifice and service.
“His death is not only one of sadness but also a moment for rededicating ourselves. To live by his example would be the right tribute to him,” Mr. Bhagwat said.
Senior BJP leader Ram Naik said the party had lost a pillar of strength. “Mr. Deshmukh was instrumental in laying the foundation of the Bhartiya Jansangh and the BJP. His work of rural development and empowerment in Gonda district and Chitrakoot will continue to inspire youth,” he said.
Vinay Sahrabuddhe, director of the Rambhau Mhalgi Institute, said Mr. Deshmukh encouraged rural development and innovative experiment with agriculture sector.
Body to be donated to AIIMS
Mr. Deshmukh’s body will be flown to Delhi from Chitrakoot on Sunday for his followers to pay their respects, before it is donated to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
His body will be brought to Delhi around 2.30 p.m. and will be kept at Keshavkunj, the RSS’s office, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for his followers and admirers to pay their last respects.