NEW DELHI: Leaders from across the political spectrum today paid glowing tributes to former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing him as a "self-made" leader who had a "monumental" contribution in the development of the North-East.
Expressing shock and grief at Sangma's demise, his parliamentary colleagues recalled his tenure as Speaker in the 11th Lok Sabha and his affable nature and effervescence, which endeared him to many.
Offering his condolence, the Prime Minister said that Sangma's tenure as Lok Sabha Speaker "is unforgettable".
He was "a self-made leader whose contribution towards the development of the North East is monumental. Saddened by his demise," Modi said on twitter.
The Prime Minister said that Sangma had a "down-to-earth personality and affable nature" and added that he was deeply influenced by Netaji Bose."
Sangma was a nine-time MP and represented Tura Lok Sabha seat in Meghalaya.
"He was a very effective and successful Speaker. It was shocking news because he was quite fit and active. The country has lost a great person who was a champion of North-East's cause," NCP Chief Sharad Pawar said. Sangma was the co-founder of NCP.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announced the news of Sangma's death in the House. Parliament was adjourned today as a mark of respect for the departed leader.
"He was my good friend and a great human being. The work he has done as Lok Sabha Speaker will be remembered by the country and Parliament, particularly, the work he did for the development of the North-East. We have lost an ideal speaker of Parliament," Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said Sangma was liked and admired by all political leaders irrespective of their political difference. "It's deeply saddening and shocking news for all of us because he was in the House till two days ago. In fact, he had given his name to speak on the President's address" "He was a very popular figure whatever the political differences people may have had with him, everyone liked and admired him a great deal. He was somebody who was universally liked.
"Our prayers go out to him and his family. India has lost an important leader from the North-East. Somebody who was chief minister at the age of 41," the MP said.
Sangma was also the Chief Minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990 and Leader of Opposition in the assembly from 1990 to 1991.
Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said Sangma was a veteran parliamentarian and a "true nationalist".