Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs and actor Sunil Dutt passed away after a heart attack at his home in Bandra, northwest Mumbai, on Wednesday morning. The news was received with shock in capital New Delhi.
Prabha Rao, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief
He did not belong to just Mumbai, but to Maharashtra, Bharatvarsh and the whole world. Sunil Dutt was a man of peace. He followed the principles of Mahatma Gandhi. He took the peace message from Kanyakumari to Amritsar. No one can replace him. We will all try to follow in his footsteps.
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Rajiv Shukla, Congress leader
He was a wonderful human being. A gentleman in politics. In his death the polity has lost a valuable leader.
His death will certainly have an impact on the Maharashtra politics. It will make a difference. Sunil Duttsaab commanded a lot of respect from everyone. If the recent Dandi March was a success, it was because of him.
As for sports, he was taking a keep interest in the Commonwealth Games.
Two days ago Mahesh Bhupathi came to me and said he wanted to organise a women's world championship. I said I would see what I could do. I went to Shiela Dikshit and she in turn approached Sunil Dull. He was so positive. He was so cooperative. He gave his clearance immediately.
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One more example I can give is that of the cricket match to be held for the benefit for tsunami victims. The Board of Control for Cricket in India was going to approach the finance ministry to seek some tax rebates. Sunil Dutt came with us to the finance ministry. It is a different matter that the match did not take place.
Salman Khurshid, Congress leader
It is a great and deep loss. A loss to a certain ideology, a loss a to vision, a loss to good politics, a loss to people who looked for inspiration from him and a loss to the county.
He died early. He still had many years left in him.
I had worked with him many times. I spent time with him during campaigns. I treated him as somebody with whom I had a special right to engage in various things like charity etc.
He was just a fine company. In politics people always poke fun at each other. But he never did that. He was a good, clean man.
I generally don't see many films. But I have seen many of his. And this is not meant to be a cliche: Who can forget Mother India?
Former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma
I have lost a personal friend. When I was young I saw his evergreen film Mujhe Jeene Do, in which he played the role of a dacoit. I was captivated with his powerful depiction of character. He was an outstanding film personality.
He took great interest in the North East and visited the seven states a number of times and encouraged sportsmen and women there. He would often asked me in detail about various developments in the states and invite suggestions on how to improve the standard of the sports in that region. This is one aspect of his life that impressed me the most, because I come from that region.
He was a patriot to the core and whatever he did came out spontaneously. When his son was in trouble he came to me and expressed his grief and anger. When he sought my help, I did whatever I could.
I was impressed by his convictions and the manner in which he went about doing his job. The most memorable moments of his life that I recall is his momentous walk to the Golden Temple when the terrorist threat was looming large in Punjab. That is why I say that he was patriot to the core. The more you knew Sunil Dutt the more you admired him.
I will miss a great friend and the Lok Sabha a great parliamentarian.
Ambika Soni, Congress general secretary
It came as a great shock. We had a special personal bonding in the sense that his father and mine came from the same village -- Khurd, in Jhelum district of Pakistan.
I have had the privilege of interacting with him on many occasions and he was forthcoming on every subject. He was humane to the core and worked for a number of charitable organisations. I recall the march that he undertook from Mumbai to the Golden Temple in Amritsar during the peak of insurgency in Punjab. He was warned by the Intelligence that there was a serious threat to his life, but he was convinced about the purpose of his march and went ahead with it. He was accompanied by his daughter.
He was an admirable man. A man dedicated to the causes that he believed in. The death of his wife, film actress Nargis, due to cancer changed his life.
Whenever anyone in trouble managed to get across to him he would go all out to help the needy person.
Such was the character of the towering personality called Sunil Dutt.
As sports minister he raised the status of the ministry. Sportsmen looked up to him and he earned their respect. He was an outstanding parliamentarian. He won from Mumbai South constituency even when the chips were down for the Congress. He had the courage to take on the Shiv Sena in the parliamentary elections.
In his death I have lost a great friend.