Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi led the nation in paying homage to former Chief Minister, Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy on Friday as his body left for Idupulapaya Estate, near Pulivendula in Kadapa district, where it would be buried by 5 p.m.
Dr. Singh, Ms. Gandhi, who were accompanied by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, flew in here and placed wreaths on the body of the departed leader at his Begumpet residence. They spent about 30 minutes and consoled his wife, Vijayalaskhmi, son, Y.S.Jaganmohan Reddy, who is a Congess MP and daughter, Sharmila.
Before leaving, Dr. Singh paid rich tributes to the former Chief Minister. He wrote in the visitors book that in the untimely demise of Dr.Reddy the country had lost an outstanding leader and the people of Andhra Pradesh an ideal Chief Minister, who was personally concerned to the welfare of the poor.
Ms.Gandhi wrote: "I am here to bid my last farewell to my colleague Chief Minister Rajasekhara Reddy. A dynamic, visionary, progressive leader who throughout his career strived for the upliftment of the poor, of the farmers, for the empowerment of women and welfare of children". Describing his death as a huge loss to the Congress party, she said "we shall always cherish his contribution and we shall take inspiration from the manner in which day and night he worked tirelessly for all sections of society".
Mr.Rahul Gandhi in his tribute described Dr.Reddy as a true leader and said that his death was tremendous loss to the State and the country. "I personally learnt a lot from the Chief Minister. He is an inspiration to those who would like to have an impact on the lives of the poor people of our country. It is a sad day for all of us", he wrote.
The former CM’s residence was virtually turned into a fortress with security and army personnel cordoning off the entire area as Dr. Singh and Ms. Gandhi drove there from airport, amidst shouts of 'YSR Amar Rahe' by his supporters, who gathered outside the residence.
The BJP leader, L.K. Advani, former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Sitharam Yechury, Union Ministers, P.Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Salman Khurshid, Veerappa Moily, Prithiviraj Chauhan, senior Congress leader, Motilal Vohra, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Delhi Chief Minister, Shiela Dixit, were among those who paid homage to the departed leader.
His body was taken in a flower-bedecked Army carriage to Gandhi Bhavan and later to Lal Bahadur Satdium and kept in state where hundreds of people paid their last respects.