The Union Cabinet met here on Thursday and decided to hold a State Funeral for the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy, who died in a helicopter accident on Wednesday.

Accordingly, the national tricolour was flown at half-mast at Delhi and State capitals on Thursday and will remain so on Friday. In addition, all Central Government departments will remain closed in Andhra Pradesh on Friday.

Chaired by Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, the Cabinet adopted a resolution placing on record its deep sense of grief and loss and extending its condolences to his family and the people of Andhra Pradesh.

Describing him as a tall leader of contemporary India, who had brought tremendous development to Andhra Pradesh through his farsighted and capable leadership, the resolution said, ''in his death, the country has lost an eminent political leader, a farsighted statesman, an astute administrator, a compassionate human being and above all a friend of the poor and the downtrodden’’.

The resolution recalled the State-wide padayatra undertaken by Reddy in 2003 and placed on record its admiration for the way in which he made Andhra Pradesh the leading State in the empowerment of women, promoted irrigation and power generation schemes in the State and gave a special thrust for a programme that provided finance to small and micro enterprises during his first term as Chief Minister.

''Much was expected of his Government [during his second term] and it was believed that his administration would be the model of development that other States would follow’’.

''Dr.Rajasekhara Reddy, a qualified medical doctor, was a natural reformer and modernizer. Neverthless, he always kept the interests of the poor at the centre of his policies and his Government. He was able to successfully blend the necessity of reforms and the imperatives of social justice’’.

IANS adds:

Rajasekhara Reddy was leader of reason, dynamism: Sonia

The Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Thursday that she was “deeply saddened” by the sudden death of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who she described as a “leader of reason and dynamism”.

“The Congress is deeply saddened by the untimely death of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy,” Ms. Gandhi told reporters after a condolence meeting of the Congress Working Committee here.

“He was a leader of reason and dynamism,” she said.

Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy, popularly known as YSR, and four others died in a helicopter crash in a forested area of Andhra Pradesh.

PTI reports:

Reddy was an outstanding leader, role model CM: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday described the death of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy as a personal loss and said he was a “role model” and an outstanding leader with a tireless commitment to serve the people.

In his condolence message to Dr. Reddy’s widow Vijaya Lakshmi, Dr. Singh said Dr. Reddy worked for the masses, especially the poor and under—privileged, and described him as a “valued colleague on whom I depended for support and ideas”.

The void would be difficult to fill, he said.

“Rajasekharji 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,” said Dr. Singh while noting that his wife Gursharan Kaur also joined him in extending the heartfelt condolences.

Praising Dr. Reddy as a “natural leader”, the Prime Minister said he would be remembered for his unwavering commitment to the development of Andhra Pradesh and his administrative acumen.

“All his actions were guided by his deep sensitivity to the problems of the poor and the needy,” he said.

Noting that Dr. Reddy’s life was one of “tireless commitment and service to the people, especially the poor and the under-privileged,” Dr. Singh said “his legacy will live on and will inspire many others in the time to come.”

The Prime Minister said Dr. Reddy, in his long and illustrious political career, had distinguished himself in every position he held.

Mr. Singh recalled that Dr. Reddy was elected to the State Legislative Assembly at a young age of 28 and was a member of the Lok Sabha for four terms.

“His contribution to the Congress party was immense. He led the party to two consecutive victories in Andhra Pradesh.

As president of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee, he undertook a historic padyatra in 1998 which endeared him to the people of the State,” he recalled.

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