New Delhi, Nov 30 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday led the nation in mourning former prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral, describing him as "an outstanding public figure".
"I am deeply saddened at the passing away of Gujral, a distinguished leader and an outstanding public figure who served our country in various capacities with dedication, honesty and patriotism," he said.
"In his death, India has lost an eminent son whose absence will be felt for all times to come," Manmohan Singh added.
Vice President Hamid Ansari said India had "lost an intellectual, a scholar statesman and a gentleman politician whose liberal and humanist vision was rooted in the teachings of the leaders of our freedom movement".
Defence Minister A.K. Antony called Gujral a seasoned and astute politician who was never afraid of speaking his mind out.
"He was instrumental in coming out with bold ideas for conflict resolution in our immediate and extended neighbourhood," Antony said.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah described Gujral as a politician, a diplomat and a humanist.
"He ruled for a short time as PM but he ruled with consensus. He was an honest and decent man well known for his simplicity," added central Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit noted that Gujral was also an Urdu scholar and a staunch supporter of democratic values.