Political leaders across party lines expressed grief over veteran Congress leader and former President Pranab Mukherjee’s death on Monday. Mukherjee had been in a critical condition since a brain surgery on August 10 and had also tested positive for the coronavirus. He was 84.

Mukherjee’s health had worsened on Sunday due to a lung infection. He was being treated at the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Mukherjee for his leadership and remembered his advice on key matters. “India grieves the passing away of Bharat Ratna Shri Pranab Mukherjee,” Modi tweeted. “He has left an indelible mark on the development trajectory of our nation. A scholar par excellence, a towering statesman, he was admired across the political spectrum and by all sections of society.”

Modi added that Mukherjee had given him advice since his first day in the top office. “I was new to Delhi in 2014,” Modi said. “From Day 1, I was blessed to have the guidance, support and blessings of Shri Pranab Mukherjee. I will always cherish my interactions with him. Condolences to his family, friends, admirers and supporters across India. Om Shanti.”

The Congress remembered Mukherjee for his “integrity and compassion”. “We are deeply pained by the passing of Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Former President of India and one of the tallest leaders of the Congress,” the party said in a tweet. “Shri Pranab Mukherjee will always be remembered for his integrity & compassion. Our prayers are with his family, followers and the nation.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also grieved Mukherjee’s death. “With great sadness, the nation receives the news of the unfortunate demise of our former President Shri Pranab Mukherjee,” he said. “I join the country in paying homage to him. My deepest condolences to the bereaved family and friends.”

Gandhi’s party colleague Jairam Ramesh said Mukherjee will be remembered as an “exemplary” parliamentarian. “A gloomy day has just got gloomier with Pranab Babu’s sad demise,” he tweeted.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah remembered Mukherjee as a “vastly experienced” and distinguished leader. “Deeply anguished on the passing away of former President of India, Bharat Ratna Shri Pranab Mukherjee ji,” he wrote on Twitter. “He was a vastly experienced leader who served the nation with utmost devotion. Pranab da’s distinguished career is a matter of great pride for the entire country.”

President Ram Nath Kovind also mourned Mukherjee’s death. “Sad to hear that former President Shri Pranab Mukherjee is no more,” he wrote on Twitter. “His demise is passing of an era. A colossus in public life, he served Mother India with the spirit of a sage. The nation mourns losing one of its worthiest sons. Condolences to his family, friends and all citizens.”

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee also tweeted her tributes to Mukherjee. “It is with deep sorrow I write that Bharat Ratna Pranab Mukherjee has left us,” she said. “An era has ended. For decades he was a father figure. From my first win as MP, to being my senior Cabinet colleague, to his becoming President while I was CM [chief minister].”

“So many memories,” she added. “A visit to Delhi without Pranabda is unimaginable. He is a legend in all subjects from politics to economics. Will be forever grateful. Shall miss him immensely. My condolences to Abhijit and Sharmistha.”

Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal President Naveen Patnaik said Mukherjee will always be remembered for his capability to bring about a consensus on national issues. “Deeply saddened to know about the demise of former President Pranab Mukherjee,” he said in a tweet. “Pranab Da was a prolific reader, powerful orator, scholar & had an unparalleled experience in governance. He will always be remembered for his exceptional ability to forge consensus on national issues.”

Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Deve Gowda remembered his long association with Mukherjee. “I am saddened to learn the passing away of former President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee,” he said in a tweet. “We had a long association spanning decades. I had always admired the way he combined his sharp intellect with hard work. May his soul rest in peace.”

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Chief Mohan Bhagwat said Mukherjee had been a guide for the organisation. “It will not be easy to fill this void in the politico-social life of Bharat,” Bhagwat said. “He was a guide for us because of his care and interest about Sangh (RSS). His departure is an irreparable loss to the Sangh.We convey our deep condolences to all the family members and pray the Almighty to grant an immortal place for Pranab Da at his auspicious feet.”

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora also expressed his grief over Mukherjee’s death. “In his demise, the nation has lost a widely respected savant and a Rajrishi known for his encyclopaedic knowledge of economic, constitutional and historical affairs,” Arora said in a statement. “May God give his family the strength to bear this irreparable loss.”

Mukherjee served as India’s 13th President from 2012 to 2017, and was succeeded by Ram Nath Kovind. Mukherjee had been a Cabinet minister in the United Progressive Alliance government, handling the portfolio of external affairs and finance on separate occasions. He was also the finance minister in the Indira Gandhi government from 1982 to 1984 and the external affairs minister in the Narasimha Rao government from 1995 to 1996.

In 2019, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award. In 2008, he had been awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award.

Tributes from foreign leaders

Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli expressed grief over Mukherjee’s death. “I am deeply saddened by the news of passing away of former President of India Pranab Mukherjee,” he wrote on Twitter. “Heartfelt condolences to the government and people of India as well as the bereaved family members.”

Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering also mourned Mukherjee’s death. “On behalf of the people of Bhutan, I offer our deepest condolences to the people of India on the passing away of Bharat Ratna Shri Pranab Mukherjee,” he tweeted. “We offer our sincere prayers and wish his family all the strength.”

United States Ambassador to India Ken Juster offered his condolences to Mukherjee’s family. “Very sad to learn of Pranab Mukherjee’s passing,” he said in a tweet. “Through his long career in public service, he contributed much to the U.S.-India relationship, including signing the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement when he was the Minister of External Affairs. Our condolences to his family.”