Former Haryana Chief Minister Rao Birender Singh died here today. Mr. Singh, 88, had complained of chest pain and died soon after, his family said. He is survived by three sons including Gurgaon MP and former Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh, Kosli MLA Rao Yudvender Singh and Rao Ajit Singh, and a daughter.

Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia and Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda expressed their deep sorrow over Mr. Singh’s death.

Describing Mr. Singh as a “true altruist,” Mr. Pahadia said that he was a free statesman, seasoned politician and a gentleman to the core.

Mr. Hooda said Mr. Singh was a visionary and matured leader who always respected democratic norms.

Mr. Rao Birender Singh was the Chief Minister of the State from March 24 to November 2, 1967, and was the first person in the State to constitute a regional party ‘Vishal Haryana Party’ which he later merged with Congress in 1978.

Born at Nangal in Rewari district of Haryana, Mr. Singh did his higher education at St. Stephens College in Delhi.

Mr. Singh, who remained a minister in the Punjab government from 1956 to 1961, served many key posts, including Speaker of Haryana Legislative Assembly and Union Agriculture minister.

He was three times member of Lok Sabha. Besides, he was a member of the Punjab legislative Council and Haryana Legislative Assembly various times.

3-day State mourning

The Haryana Government has declared a three-day State mourning from September 30 to October 2 and public holiday on September 30 in all State government offices including those of boards, corporations and educational institutions as a mark of respect to Mr. Singh.

During the period of State mourning, the National Flag will be flown at half mast throughout the State on all buildings where it is flown regularly.

All State government functions shall stand cancelled and there will be no official entertainment during this period, an official spokesman said in Chandigarh.

The State funeral shall be held at Rewari on October 1, 2009.

Public Holiday will be observed on October 1, 2009 in all State government offices including those of boards, corporations and educational Institutions located in Rewari district.