Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and first Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Nityanand Swami (84) died in a hospital here on Wednesday, after a prolonged illness. The cremation took place with state honours at Lakhibagh in the city in the evening.
The Vidhan Sabha was adjourned for the day after rich tributes were paid to Mr. Swami. All State government offices and educational institutions were closed for the day. A three-day state mourning has been declared
“The State has lost a great philosopher, administrator, friend and gentleman,” Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said after laying a wreath on Mr. Swami’s body at his residence.
Mr. Swami gave his ministers total freedom to devise and implement development schemes, said the former Chief Minster of the hill State, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.
Leaders of various parties recalled Mr. Swami as a warm-hearted person who was always available to all for guidance.
Born on December 27, 1927 at Narnaul in Haryana, Mr. Swami spent most of his life in Dehradun, where his father served in the Forest Research Institute. He was first elected to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly from Dehradun as a Jan Sangh candidate in 1969.
In 1984, he was elected to the Legislative Council from Kumaon and Garhwal, which he represented for three terms. Mr. Swami became Deputy Chairman of the Council in 1991 and was elected Chairman unopposed the next year.
On November 9, 2000 Mr. Swami became the first Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, which was carved out of U.P. He is survived by four daughters.