NEW DELHI: The President, Ms Pratibha Patil, the Vice-President, Mr Hamid Ansari and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday condoled the death of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Dorjee Khandu in a helicopter crash, saying the country had lost a charismatic leader who spent long years in public service.
Expressing grief over Khandu’s tragic death, Ms Patil said: “He was a politician who actively spent his life in public affairs and who deeply understood the pulse of the people. He shall always be remembered for his commitment to the upliftment and welfare of the people of the state.”
In his condolence message to the late chief minister’s wife Ms Rinchin Drema, Dr Singh said: “He was a veteran politician of Arunachal Pradesh who worked tirelessly to promote the interests of the state. He spent his early career in grass-root activities among the people of Tawang district.”
Praising the work of Khandu (56), the Prime Minister said that he worked for Arunachal Pradesh’s development with dynamism and energy, while holding a number of cabinet positions in the state government.
“Khandu worked hard for the development of Arunachal Pradesh and served the state with distinction after being appointed as chief minister,” he added.
Describing Khandu as a highly popular and charismatic leader, Mr Ansari said: “He believed that the real wellbeing of a society cannot be measured by material development alone but by the human development of its people.”
“His ‘People First’ policy focused on education and health sectors and designed to bring about equitable distribution of the fruits of development.
During his political career and many years in public life, he has shown exemplary devotion and dedication to the all-round development of the state and its people,” said Mr Ansari.
The Union cabinet also condoled the demise of Khandu and passed a resolution that said: “He passed away in tragic circumstances. In his death, the country has lost an eminent leader, an able administrator and a compassionate human being, who was committed to all round development.
“The cabinet places on record its deep sense of grief and loss and extends its sincere condolences to his family and to the people of Arunachal Pradesh.”
Khandu was in a Pawan Hans chopper, with two pilots and two other passengers on board, that went missing on Saturday. Its wreckage was found on Wednesday near the Jang waterfalls in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, exactly 96 hours after it lost contact with the ground. All the five passengers were declared dead.
Mr Khandu’s funeral will take place Friday in Tawang, his home district.