Cutting across party lines, chief ministers of various Indian states on Thursday paid glowing tributes to Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, while many states declared mourning and a holiday as a mark of respect to the leader killed in a helicopter crash.
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who is in China, said he was hoping that the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister would be safe after his helicopter went missing. "My hopes have been shattered and I am deeply grieved," he said.
Karnataka's BJP government declared a two-day mourning and a holiday on Friday.
Yeddyurappa's party collegues Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh expressed shock and grief over Reddy's death.
"Reddy was a popular mass leader and an experienced and able administrator," Singh said, adding he gave up his life in the line of duty serving the people of Andhra Pradesh and his contribution will always be remembered.
In Bihar, the Janata Dal (United)-led government also announced two-day state mourning.
The Biju Janata Dal government in Orissa declared a one-day state mourning.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal described Reddy as "a gentleman politician and a people's man" and declared a two-day state mourning when national flags would fly half-mast at government buildings.
The Akali leader said not only had the people of Andhra Pradesh been deprived of a towering political personality and a man of masses, but the death had also created a void in national polity.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led Tamil Nadu government declared a holiday on Friday for government offices and educational institutions.
Chief Minister M Karunanidhi expressed "deep shock" over the sudden demise of Reddy, who was a close friend of the DMK leader. TN state Governor Surjit Singh Barnala said Reddy's death was an irreparable loss to India and Andhra Pradesh.
DMK, a key ally of Congress, said it would observe a three-day mourning and party-flags would fly half-mast from September 4 to 6.
In her condolence message, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati said besides being a popular leader, Reddy was also an able administrator and his death had created a void in politics which will be hard to fill.
Puducherry announced closure of all government offices and educational institutions for a day and the Union Territory will also observe a seven-day mourning.
Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said Reddy had always stood for the interest of the states. His Communist Party of India (M) colleague West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said Reddy was a good organiser.
Reddy's party colleagues Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda described him as a role model and said the Congress had lost one of its tallest leaders who had "qualities of head and heart".
"Reddy was a perfect leader of the masses," Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi recalled that Reddy had initiated "a slew of developmental works and schemes aimed at ameliorating the socio-economic condition of the poor, farmers and downtrodden of the society".