New Delhi: Parliament was adjourned for the day today after paying tributes to former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, who breathed his last on Friday at the age of 92.
Both Houses of Parliament also offered tributes to the victims of Bhopal gas tragedy on its 28th anniversary.
In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Meira Kumar hailed Gujral as a “distinguished parliamentarian” and an “illustrious leader” who became the Prime Minister in 1997.
“We deeply mourn the loss of our friend and I am sure the House would join me in conveying our condolences to the bereaved family,” she said.
In the Rajya Sabha, Chairman Hamid Ansari said in Gujral’s death “the country has lost a veteran freedom fighter, a great statesman, an able administrator, an erudite scholar and a distinguished parliamentarian”.
Both the Houses observed silence as a mark of respect to the memory of the departed before being adjourned for the day.
Born in family of freedom fighters, Gujral participated in the freedom struggle and was imprisoned during the Quit India movement, Ansari said in his obituary reference.
A widely traveled person, he served as India’s ambassador to the USSR from 1976 to 1980.
A man of letters, Gujral authored two books ‘A Foreign Policy for India’ and ‘Mazameen-e-Gujral’. He also wrote columns in various newspapers and periodicals in India and abroad.
Gujral represented the Delhi, Rajasthan and Bihar in the Upper House for three terms — April 1964 to April 1970, April 1970 to April 1976, and July 1992 to March 1998.
He was also the Leader of the House from June 1996 to November 1996 and then again from April 1997 to March 1998. Gujral served as Union minister in the ministries of Parliamentary Affairs, Information and Broadcasting and Communications, Works, Housing and Urban Development and Planning from 1967 to 1976. He served as Minister of External Affairs from 1989 to 1990 and again from 1996 to 1997 and as the Minister of Water Resources in 1996
Ansari and Kumar made reference to the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984 and expressed sympathies for those who lost their family members or were rendered disabled.
“The tragedy still haunts us in the form of incapacitated people and children born with deformities. It was indeed a human tragedy of unparalleled magnitude which shocked the conscience of the world,” Ansari said.
Describing the Bhopal gas tragedy as “man-made”, he said, “The criminal human folly that caused the tragedy has been compounded by indifferent attitude in subsequent years.
“It is incumbent on us, morally and legally, to do our utmost to support the surviving victims in every manner possible,” he added