27 Jan :The Union government declared a seven-day state mourning in the country as a mark of respect to former President R Venkataraman who passed away in New Delhi on Tuesday afternoon.
The 98 year old former President, who was admitted to the Army Hospital (Research and Referral) on 12th January with complaints of Urosepsis (a toxic condition caused by the extravasation of urine into bodily tissues), died at 1430 hours.
There will no official entertainment and flags will fly at half-mast on all government buildings during the period, an official spokesman said.
The Union Cabinet, which met soon after Venkataraman’s death, decided to cancel the Beating Retreat ceremony and PM’s NCC Rally, the two programmes held annually as part of the Republic Day celebrations.
The Cabinet, whose meeting was presided over by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, also decided to accord a state funeral to the late President, the spokesman said.
A copybook president, R Venkataraman skilfully guided the country through a testing period of coalition politics in its nascent days that saw three prime ministers in two years between the winter of 1989 and summer of 1991.
Known for dignity and fairplay Ramaswamy Venkataraman, popularly known as RV, will go down in history as the President who had the distinction of working with four prime ministers, appointing three of them–V P Singh, Chandrashekhar and P V Narasimha Rao– during his five-year term.
Leaders condole RV’s death, say he was an outstanding figure
The President, the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers and leaders across political spectrum on Tuesday condoled the death of former President R Venkataraman describing him as a true patriot, an oustanding figure and a versatile parliamentarian.
Terming his death as a huge loss to the country, they said the late leader held high standards of probity and rectitude in public life and would be remembered long for his service to the nation.
In her condolence message, President Pratibha Patil said in Vekataraman’s death, the nation had lost a true patriot and a distinguished luminary.
Vice-President M Hamid Ansari said the late leader was a varsatile parliamentarian and an adept administrator.
He had left a distinct mark in the national polity with his "innate simplicity, vast erudition and deep senstivity for the poor and the deprived in his long public career", Ansari said.
Condoling RV’s death, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, recuperating in AIIMS after a successful coronary bypass surgery, described the former Prez as an "outstanding figure" in public life.
"Venkataraman will be remembered long for his service to the nation, the strength of character and his knowledge and wisdom," he said.
Former Premier and BJP veteran Atal Bihari Vajpayee said in the death of Venkataraman, Indian politics had lost a "guiding light".