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Tributes pour in for Narasimha Rao

Last updated on: December 24, 2004 12:47 IST

Several leaders, including Union ministers P Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar and Lalu Prasad, and the Bharatiya Janata Party's Jaswant Singh on Friday paid homage to former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao.

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The last journey of the Congress leader, who died of a cardiac arrest on Thursday, will begin from his Krishna Menon Marg residence, from where it will be taken in a flower-bedecked gun carrier escorted by armed forces personnel to the All India Congress Committee headquarters.

His body will flown to Hyderabad later in the day.

Samata Party leader Jaya Jaitley and several MPs and leaders from Andhra Pradesh, Rao's native state, also arrived at the departed leader's residence to pay tributes.

Lalu Prasad described Rao as a "great scholar and leader", and said even when he was unwell the Congress leader had expressed concern at the killing of some dalits in Belchi in Bihar.

"It is a great loss to the country," he added.

Former prime minister V P Singh, who was in a wheelchair, Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Sunil Dutt, People's Democratic Party chief and MP Mehbooba Mufti, former Orissa chief minister Giridhar Gomang and Samajwadi Party MP Jayaprada also arrived at Rao's residence.

"He will be remembered for his contribution to the economic reforms in the country," Dutt said.

He recalled that when Rao took over the reins of the country the economy was not in a good shape, but "within six months he brought it back on track".

V P Singh said Rao was a multifaceted personality and pointed to his contribution to the freedom struggle.

Meanwhile, sources said the funeral will be held on Saturday and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi are expected to be present.

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