President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday condoled the death of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and said his contribution to public service will always be remembered.
Expressing his heartfelt condolences on the passing away of Sayeed, the President said, "Contribution of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to Jammu and Kashmir and India through long years of public service will always be remembered".
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he was deeply pained to learn of Sayeed's demise. "He was known for his love for common people, especially the underprivileged."
The home minister, who met Sayeed's family in AIIMS soon after his death, said "Mufti Sayeed ji had a wonderful understanding of complex issues pertaining to J&K. He wanted to bring permanent peace to the Valley."
The demise of Mufti Sayeed is an "irreparable loss" to Jammu and Kashmir. His departure has also left a big void in national politics, he said.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah condoled the death of Sayeed. "Just heard the terrible news of Mufti Sahib's passing away. I'm shocked and deeply saddened. May he rest in peace," he said in a tweet.
Omar went to AIIMS and expressed his condolences to the family.
Former Union Minister Farooq Abdullah also condoled the death of Sayeed and said he was deeply saddened by his death.
CPI-M leader in the state Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami said "the state had lost a leader who had given valuable contribution for building peace in the region".
Congress President Sonia Gandhi also expressed grief over the demise of Mufti as she communicated her condolences to his wife, daughter Mehbooba Mufti and other well-wishers.
"In his death, the state of Jammu and Kashmir as indeed the entire nation has lost a great leader," she said.
Recalling his long association with the Congress party, she said Mufti's contribution as a "humanist and to public life in various capacities will forever be remembered."
BJP President Amit Shah said he was "deeply saddened" on hearing the news of Mufti's death as he called him a "rare politician."
"Many condolences to his family and supporters in this hour of grief," Shah said.
Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and KashmirNirmal Singh said the state will miss Mufti in its governance and political pursuits.
"It is very sad news. We wanted him to guide us, like he was doing in the last ten months. Now it has come as a great shock for the government as well as the state. He was a national leader. He was having a vision not only in terms of Jammu and Kashmir but also of India... (it was) his inclusive approach and it was for the first time that the people of Jammu and Kashmir were feeling that it was our government.
"This government which believes in transparency... it was here... but unfortunately he is not amongst us. We were wishing early recovery for him but unfortunately this was not possible. It is very sad for us," he said.
Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh said the country has lost one of the last surviving veterans from the first generation of post-Independence politicians and statesmen in India.
Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who was a cabinet colleague of Sayeed in the V P Singh government, said he never compromised with the principles and national integrity.
"Mufti sahib was the man of great vision, his death is great loss to nation and specially to Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
LJP Parliamentary Board chairman Chirag Paswan said Sayeed's death has created a void in the polity.
J&K Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said Mufti was one leader who would not shy away from taking "bold" decisions.
"He wanted to leave a legacy of peace between India and Pakistan. A legacy of conflict resolution and development of Jammu and Kashmir... It (his death) will create void because of his unconventional politics like the impossible alliance of PDP and BJP which he made possible... the meeting of north and south pole," Akhtar said.
Another party leader Muzaffar Baig, while paying his condolences to the departed leader, said his death was a great loss for the country.
"Our party has a unanimous opinion about Mehbooba Mufti that she should take charge," he said.
Baig said the CM's body will be taken in an aircraft to Srinagar where it will be kept for people to pay their last respects.
His last rites will be conducted in his ancestral village, he said.