NEW DELHI: Kamla Advani, wife of veteran BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani, died here on Wednesday following a heart attack.
She was taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Wednesday evening following complaints of uneasiness and breathlessness. Efforts to revive her by the doctors did not succeed.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi were among those who paid tributes to Kamla Advani.
Modi described her as a "pillar of strength" to the party patriarch and noted that she motivated party workers.
"Deeply pained and saddened by Kamla Advani ji's demise. She always inspired and motivated karyakartas and was L.K. Advani ji's pillar of strength. I recall my many interactions with Kamla Advani ji. My thoughts are with the Advani family in this hour of grief. May her soul rest in peace," tweeted Modi.
Expressing his condolences, President Mukherjee described Kamla Advani as the "anchor" of the life of BJP leader.
"I am deeply distressed to learn about the sad demise of your wife, Kamla. She was the anchor of your life and constant companion through all ups and downs. I fondly recall her many visits to the Rashtrapati Bhavan accompanying you and her endearing presence.
"She was soft, cultured and left a lasting impression on whomsoever she met. As someone who lost his spouse recently, I feel your pain and sudden sense of loss," the president said.
A doctor at AIIMS told IANS that Kamla Advani, 83, was "unconscious and unresponsive when she was brought to the hospital"
"Immediate evaluation revealed the patient to be in cardiopulmonary arrest. Resuscitation measures were provided by a team of doctors. However, despite 60 minutes of intensive efforts, she could not be revived," the doctor said.
Doctors said Kamla Advani was a cardiac patient and age-related illness had made her cardiac condition more severe.
Advani and Kamla were married in 1965 and have two children, Jayant and Pratibha. The couple had last year celebrated their 50th marriage anniversary.
BJP leaders recalled the hospitality with which Kamla Advani received all her guests.
"She paid personal attention to ensure that the guests were looked after well," a BJP leader said.
BJP president Amit Shah was among party leaders to extend their condolences.
"Deeply saddened by the demise of Kamla Advani ji. My heartfelt condolences to the Advani family. May god give strength to bear the great pain," he tweeted.
Sonia Gandhi extended her condolences to Advani and other family members and said she shares the pain caused by their loss and prayed for the departed soul.
Gandhi had warmly congratulated Advani and his wife on their 50th marriage anniversary.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted: "Deeply pained to learn of Kamla Advani's demise. May god give L.K. Advani ji and his family the strength to bear this great loss."
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also condoled her death.
"Saddened at the passing of Kamla Advani ji. Great loss to Advani ji and family. My deepest condolences," Banerjee wrote.
Journalists, who have covered the BJP, remember her as being apolitical and having once described her husband as her "guru".
They also recalled her role as a bridge between her husband and former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee if there was difference of opinion between the two BJP stalwarts.
They said socialist leader George Fernandes had also shared an anecdote in which a difference of opinion between the two leaders was settled due to the "hospitality and intervention of Kamla ji".
A journalist recalled Fernandes as saying: "He (Advani) was closeted with me in his North Block office when suddenly he got a call from his wife that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would be visiting his house. Lal rushed and next day he told me it was Vajpayee who called up Kamla and told her that he wanted to visit her house for lunch. Now that was a good bhabhi to the prime minister of India."