Leaders across the political spectrum on Friday condoled the demise of Chhattisgarh's first chief minister Ajit Jogi, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailing the IAS officer-turned-politician for striving to bring a positive change in the lives of the poor.
Jogi died on Friday at a Raipur hospital where he was being treated for the last 20 days, doctors said.
Jogi, 74, who had slipped into coma, suffered a cardiac arrest in the afternoon and could not be revived,they said.
"Sad to hear of the passing of first Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Shri Ajit Jogi. A man of many parts, Shri Jogi was an able administrator known for promoting development of the state and its people. My condolences to his family, friends and followers," President Ram Nath Kovind said in a tweet.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu also expressed sadness over the death of Jogi and offered condolences to the bereaved family.
Prime Minister Modi also expressed anguish at the former Chhattisgarh chief minister's demise, saying, "Shri Ajit Jogi Ji was passionate about public service. This passion made him work hard as a bureaucrat and as a political leader."
Jogi strived to bring a positive change in the lives of the poor, especially tribal communities, Modi said.
"Saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family. RIP (rest in peace)," the prime minister said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "I'm sorry to hear about the passing of Shri Ajit Jogi, former Parliamentarian & Chhattisgarh's first CM. My condolences to his family, friends & followers in this time of grief. May he rest in peace."
Home Minister Amit Shah also condoled the passing away of Jogi, saying may god give the bereaved family strength to withstand this tragic loss.
Chhattisgarh Governor Anusuiya Uikey and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel expressed grief over the death of Jogi.
In his condolence message, Baghel recalled Jogi's contribution in the development of the state.
"Jogi's death is an irreparable loss to the state. He laid a roadmap for the development of the state and delivered an important role as a skilled politician and administrator in its progress," Baghel said.
"After the creation of the state, I got the opportunity to work as a cabinet minister in the government headed by Jogi. He set the direction to work for the welfare of villages, poor and farmers in the state," he added.
Baghel declared a three-day mourning in the state as a mark of respect to the departed leader, whose last rites will take place on Saturday at his native place Gaurela.
BJP's Chhattisgarh unit chief Vikram Usendi hailed Jogi saying that he achieved every position he deserved on his own merit.
Jogi is survived by his wife Renu Jogi, the MLA from Kota constituency, and son Amit, a former MLA.
Jogi was admitted at Shree Narayana Hospital on May 9 after he suffered respiratory and cardiac arrests after a seed of sweet tamarind got stuck in his windpipe, Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Sunil Khemka said.
"Since then, he had slipped into a coma. Around 1:30 pm on Friday he suffered another cardiac arrest following which doctors made efforts to revive him, but failed. He breathed his last at around 3:30 pm," Dr Khemka said.
Jogi, a former Congress leader, was the incumbent MLA from his traditional Marwahi seat.
Jogi, then in the Congress, had served as the first chief minister of Chhattisgarh, which came into existence in November 2000. He served in the post from November 2000 to November 2003.
He parted ways with the Congress on a bitter note in 2016 after he and his son got embroiled in a controversy over alleged fixing of the assembly by-election held for the Antagarh seat in Kanker district in 2014.
Jogi, who was wheelchair-bound since a road accident in 2004, subsequently formed his own outfit, the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh-J -- which is now headed by his son Amit Jogi.
A mass leader, Jogi remained an influential but controversial figure in Chhattisgarh though his regional party had limited appeal in the tribal-dominated state which has a bipolar politics with the Congress and the BJP forming the two poles.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, expressed his heartfelt condolences on the passing away Jogi.
"I am deeply saddened by the sad demise of Shri Ajit Jogi. He was an able administrator earlier as a bureaucrat and later as politician. He will always be remembered for his worthy contribution as a champion of poor, downtrodden and tribals," he said.
Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot condoled the death of Ajit Jogi.