Leaders across party lines on Sunday paid their tributes to senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Union minister Jaswant Singh, who died in Delhi. They remembered Singh as an outstanding parliamentarian and a veteran soldier. He was 82.
Singh had suffered a cardiac arrest while he was being treated for sepsis with multi organ dysfunction syndrome.
The senior leader held the crucial finance, external affairs and defence portfolios during his career. He was an Indian Army officer before he joined politics.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first leaders to pay his tribute to Singh. Modi said that he will be remembered for his “unique perspective on matters of politics and society”. “He also contributed to the strengthening of the BJP,” he said in a tweet. “I will always remember our interactions.”
He added: “Jaswant Singh Ji served our nation diligently, first as a soldier and later during his long association with politics. During Atal Ji’s [Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s] Government, he handled crucial portfolios and left a strong mark in the worlds of finance, defence and external affairs. Saddened by his demise.”
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani said Singh singularly and deftly handled the three most important portfolios of external affairs, defence and finance when he was a member of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government.
“As a person, Jaswant ji was a true gentleman and will be remembered as a soft-spoken, erudite and warm-hearted person,” Advani said in a statement. “He was known for his sharp, analytical mind and was respected by people across the political spectrum. I cherish my long association with him in public life and the bond shared between our families... His passing away is a huge loss to the nation and personally to me. May his soul rest in peace.”
President Ram Nath Kovind remembered Singh as an “exceptional leader and veteran soldier”. “He combined many difficult roles with ease and equanimity,” Kovind tweeted. “My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said Singh’s death was an irreparable loss for the country. “The death of Jaswant Singhji, a senior politician of the country and a minister in Atal ji’s [Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s] cabinet, is sad and an irreparable loss for the country,” he tweeted in Hindi. “While in various positions in government and organisation, he has left a deep impression on his duty. I express my condolences to his family. Om Shanti.”
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also expressed his grief. “Deeply saddened to learn of the demise of Shri Jaswant Singh ji,” he said. “ He will be particularly remembered for fashioning a foreign policy for a nuclear India. As foreign minister, he brought out the best in Indian diplomats. His enormous erudition was matched by his extraordinary personal grace. My sincerest condolences to his family. Om Shanti.”
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said he was “deeply pained” by the news, saying Singh would be remembered for “his intellectual capabilities and stellar record in service to the nation”.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said Singh played a key role in the country’s progress. “Saddened by the demise of Former Union Minister Shri Jaswant Singh ji,” he tweeted. “Jaswant Ji handled key portfolios in the Government led by Vajpayee Ji. His immense contribution towards development of India will always be remembered. My condolences to the bereaved family. Om Shanti.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Singh worked for the country all his life. “Very sad to hear about the demise of Sh [Shri] Jaswant Singh ji,” he tweeted. “He worked for the country all his life, whether inside the govt [government] or outside. May his soul rest in peace.”
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also offered his condolences to Singh’s family. “My heartfelt condolences at the passing away of senior leader from Rajasthan and former Union minister, Shri Jaswant Singh ji,” he said. “May God give strength to his family members & supporters in this hour of grief. May his soul rest in peace.”
Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Siddaramaiah also paid tributes to Singh. “Deeply saddened to learn about the passing away of veteran leader, thinker and writer, former Union minister Jaswant Singh ji,” Tharoor said. “His contributions to defining and defending the Indian polity were substantial. His decency and courtliness were legendary. Profound condolences.”
Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he was “saddened” by Singh’s death. “My condolences to his family members and well-wishers,” he tweeted.
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee expressed sorrow at Singh’s death. “Saddened at the passing away of former Defence Minister and one of India’s longest-serving parliamentarians, Jaswant Singh Ji,” she tweeted. “My condolences to his family and his many admirers.”
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla remembered Singh as a skilled politician. “I mourn the demise of former Union Minister Shri Jaswant Singh ji,” he said. “He did outstanding service to the country as a civil officer and a skilled politician. His understanding in both the roles has brought the country out of the odds many times. Shok Sant Sant My condolences to family.”
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah recalled working with Singh in the Union Cabinet and said that he was a supportive boss. “Jaswant Singh sahib was my senior minister when I was Minister of State External Affairs,” he tweeted. “He was supportive without being interfering, was always available for advice and never made me feel like my work didn’t matter. He was the perfect boss and mentor. Rest in peace sir.”
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu offered his condolences to Singh’s family. “Learnt about the death of former defence and foreign minister Jaswant Singh,” he tweeted. “May his soul rest in peace and may God give his family the strength to cope with the grief.”
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said Singh served the country with dedication. “Received the sad news of the death of former Union minister Jaswant Singh,” he tweeted. “He has served the country and the people with dedication, which will always be remembered. May God give the departed soul peace and the bereaved family the power to bear this unbearable sorrow.”
Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan said Singh was a man of “great knowledge and wisdom” and that he served the nation diligently. “My deepest condolences to his family in this hour of grief,” he said.