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R. Venkataraman passes away
Published on 28 Jan. 2009 1:07 AM IST
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Former president R. Venkataraman, who ushered in the country’s first coalition government in 1989, died here Tuesday after a prolonged illness, officials said. He was 98. Venkataraman breathed his last at 2.30 p.m. at the Army Research and Referral Hospital where he was admitted Jan 12 with urinary infection. He also needed respiratory support. Venkataraman was the country’s eighth president, from July 25, 1987 to July 25, 1992. He was earlier the vice president from 1984. A veteran member of the Congress, he swore in V.P. Singh as prime minister in 1989 following elections that produced a hung Lok Sabha. It was the country’s first coalition government. President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh mourned Venkataraman’s death. The government has announced a seven-day state mourning, from Jan 27 to Feb 2. President Patil said in a message: “In his passing away, the nation has lost a true patriot and a distinguished luminary.” Manmohan Singh added: “He was an outstanding figure of our public life. He will be long remembered for his services to the nation, his strength of character and his knowledge and wisdom.” Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said party president Sonia Gandhi and the Congress condoled the death of one who “had a distinguished political career at every level spanning decades”. During the mourning period, the national flag will fly at half mast on all buildings throughout India, the home ministry said. The government also announced the cancellation of the Jan 29 Beating Retreat ceremony as a mark of respect to the former president. The funeral will be held here tomorrow at ‘Ekta Sthal’ at 1630 hrs. Jamir condoles DIMAPUR, JAN 27 (NPN): Governor of Maharashtra S. C. Jamir has condoled the death of former President of India R. Venkataraman in New Delhi on Tuesday. Jamir in a condolence message described Venkataraman as one of the greatest parliamentarians, statesman and national leader whose contribution to nation building and public life was very high. “He was a brilliant lawyer and economist and was one of the last surviving members of the Constituent Assembly that drafted India’s Constitution”. Jamir said India has lost a great political leader and a grand patriarch of national politics in his demise. Jamir, on behalf of the people of Maharashtra conveyed condolences to the members of the bereaved family.

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