President Pratibha Patil, led the nation in mourning the death of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who died in a helicopter crash near Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday.

In a message from Moscow, where she is currently on a State visit, Ms. Patil described him as a dynamic Chief Minister and said in his death the people of not only Andhra Pradesh, but the entire nation have lost a dynamic leader and his loss would be deeply felt.

``I had the opportunity to interact with him on a number of occasions. During our interactions, his deep commitment to the development of Andhra Pradesh, its rural areas, and the weaker sections of society and empowerment of women was always evident’’.

Expressing a deep sense of grief and personal loss, Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, in a message to Dr. Reddy’s widow, Vijayalaskhmi Reddy, noted, ``Rajasekharanji died as he lived – in the service of the people of Andhra Pradesh and the country. In his untimely passing away, the State of Andhra Pradesh has lost an outstanding leader and the country has lost an ideal Chief Minister, who was a role model for other States’’.

Lending a personal touch, he said, ``I have lost a valued colleague, on whom I depended for support and ideas. Rajasekharanji’s life was one of tireless commitment and service to the people, especially the poor and the underprivileged. His legacy will live on and will inspire many others in the time to come’’.

``Your husband was a natural leader of men, who was loved equally by the public, his colleagues and the common man. The void his passing away has left behind will never be filled. My wife joins me in extending our heartfelt condolences to you and your family members. I pray to God to give you the strength and the fortitude to guide you in this hour of profound personal loss’’.

Lok Sabha Speaker, Miera Kumar, expressed her deep shock and profound grief and said, ``In Shri Reddy’s passing away, the country lost a towering personality, who, till his last, breath struggled hard to safeguard the rights of the poor and the underprivileged and facilitated all round development of the State of Andhra Pradesh’’.

She also expressed condolences in the death of Special Secretary, P. Subramanyam, Chief Security Officer, A.S.Wesley, and the two pilots – Group Captain S.K.Bhatia and Cap M.S.Reddy, who were with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister in the helicopter.

Vice President, M.Hamid Ansari, said Dr.Reddy would be remembered for his personal qualities and modesty, his deep empathy for the poor and the downtrodden and for the rational changes he brought about in administrative matters in the State through an emphasis on development of the rural economy alongside new and emerging technological sectors.

US Ambassador, Timothy J.Roemer, in a condolence message on behalf of his Government, recalled that ``the Chief Minister [Dr. Reddy] was a strong supporter of US-India friendship and our bilateral partnership, visible in the strong economic and family ties between the people of Andhra Pradesh and the United States’’.

Cutting across party lines, political parties and their leaders also paid rich tributes to Dr. Reddy.

Bharatiya Janata Party President, Rajnath Singh, called him a son of the soil, who had a special concern for the welfare of the poor and other weaker sections of society.

Leader of Opposition, L.K.Advani, said that in his death, the people of Andhra Pradesh and the country have lost a very able and popular leader of the masses. ``His contribution to the development of Andhra Pradesh and particularly the deprived classes of the society is praiseworthy’’.

Former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, described him as a progressive leader, who was full of promises. ``He was hard working, energetic, full of possibilities and a dedicated politician. In his death, Andhra Pradesh has lost a progressive leader.

Janata Dal (Secular) leader and former Prime Minister, H.D.Deve Gowda, said the nation has lost an illustrious son, a son of the soil, an able administrator, a visionary, a statesman and a dynamic leader. ``The fact that he lost his life, while on his way for a surprise check in a village amply reflected his concern for the poor and the underprivileged’’.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Prakash Karat, said the untimely death of Reddy was a big loss for Andhra Pradesh and the Congress. He conveyed his party’s deepest sympathy to Reddy’s widow and family members as also the families of the four members of the staff and the crew who died in the mishap.

Janata Dal (United) President, Sharad Yadav, noted that Dr. Reddy was an able and dynamic, charismatic leader. ``Dr.Reddy’s death has created a vacuum in Andhra Pradesh politics and his replacement is impossible’’.

Members of the Union Cabinet including Sharad Pawar, A.K.Antony, Ambika Soni, Anand Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Farooq Abdullah, E.Ahmad, Vyalar Ravi, Pallam Raju, G.K.Vasan, C.P.Joshi, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Pawan Kumar Bansal, condoled the death of Dr. Reddy.

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