LUCKNOW: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday paid tributes here to former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, calling the BJP veteran a capable leader who became a "symbol of trust" for the common people.
The prime minister said that Singh made public welfare the main aim of his life. Singh died at the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI) in Lucknow on Saturday night. He was 89.
"The country has lost a valuable personality and a capable leader. To fulfill the void left by him, we should do maximum hard work for his ideals, his promises and leave no effort in achieving his dreams," Modi told reporters after paying his last respects to the BJP leader.
He said that Singh lived true to his name given to him by his parents. "He lived his entire life for public welfare. He made 'jan kalyan' as the mantra of his life, and dedicated his life for the BJP, Bharatiya Jana Sangh family, for an ideology and for the bright future of the country," Modi said.
He hailed Singh as a committed decision maker who symbolised "trust" across the country. "For the most part of his life, he made efforts for public welfare. Whatever responsibility he had got, be it as an MLA, any post in the government, or as a governor, he had been a centre of inspiration for everyone. He became a symbol of trust for the public," Modi added.
"I pray to Bhagvan Prabhu Shriram to give Kalyan Singh ji a space at his feet. May Prabhu Ram give strength to his family in the hour of sadness to bear the loss. May Prabhu Ram give consolation to people in the country who believe in his values, ideals, culture and traditions," the prime minister said.
Kalyan Singh Ji…a leader who always worked for Jan Kalyan and will always be admired across India. pic.twitter.com/nqVIwilT7r— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 22, 2021
Modi, after reaching the residence of Singh here, paid tributes to him and placed a wreath at his body. He was accompanied by BJP chief JP Nadda, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, CM Yogi Adityanath, deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also paid tributes to the former UP chief minister.
Speaking to reporters, Rajnath Singh said, "We used to tell him (Kalyan) that we are 'bhootpoorv' (former) chief minister, you are 'abhootpoorv' (unprecedented) chief minister, on which he used to laugh. I have seen him as an elder brother."
BSP chief Mayawati also paid homage to the departed leader. Singh's body was taken to Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Bhavan from his residence in the afternoon. From there, it was taken to the office of the state BJP, party leaders said.
On Sunday evening, the body is scheduled to be taken to Aligarh, where it will be kept in a stadium. On Monday morning, it will be taken to Atrauli -- his "karmabhoomi" and "janmabhoomi", Adityanath had said on Saturday.
The last rites will be performed with full state honours in Narora town, around 60 kilometres from Aligarh, on Monday afternoon, he had said. Uttar Pradesh has announced three-day mourning and a holiday on Monday.
Singh, who also served as the Rajasthan governor, was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the SGPGI in a critical condition on July 4. He died due to sepsis and multi-organ failure, the hospital said. Singh was the Uttar Pradesh chief minister when the Babri mosque was demolished by a mob of "karsevaks" in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
Along with BJP veterans LK Advani and MM Joshi, he was among the 32 people acquitted in the demolition case in September last year. A Lodhi leader, he was instrumental in the rise of the BJP to power in Uttar Pradesh in the 1990s.
He is survived by his wife Ramvati Devi, son Rajveer Singh, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Etah, and grandson Sandeep Singh, who is the minister of state for finance, technical education and medical education in Uttar Pradesh.
Rajveer Singh said his father was born for "Jai Shri Ram", a slogan that reverberated outside the veteran BJP leader's home on Sunday as people gathered there to pay their last respects.
Apna Dal (Sonelal) leader and Lok Sabha MP from Mirzapur Anupriya Patel said the death of Singh marks the end of an era in politics and he was like a father to her. She was at the BJP office to pay tributes to the leader.
Speaker UP Legislative Assembly Hriday Narayan Dixit said the death of Singh is a loss to nationalist politics. "Under his leadership, nationalism reached outside UP to different parts of India. He was a big face of nationalism, and our mentor and guide," he said.
Dixit said Singh took the Ram Temple movement towards a "conclusion" and "prepared an army which worked to awaken nationalism". He took strict measures against unfair practices during examinations in the state, the speaker said.