New Delhi [India], Aug 31 (ANI): Senior BJP leader LK Advani on Monday said he was deeply saddened over the demise of his "longtime and close colleague" Pranab Mukherjee and noted that the reflective nature of the late leader combined with his long and varied experience in public life made him a statesman who was admired by people across the political spectrum.
In a statement, Advani said though he and Pranab Mukherjee belonged to different ideologies but a mutual bond of respect was formed between them from their first meeting.
Describing Pranab Mukherjee as a friend, Advani said passing away of the late leader was "a huge loss to the nation".
"I am deeply saddened to condole the passing away of my longtime and close colleague Shri Pranab Mukherjee ji. Pranab Da, as many of us addressed him with affection, was someone with whom I have had a long and cherished association," the BJP leader said.
"Although I am older, Pranab Da was one year senior to me as a Parliamentarian. I became a Member of Parliament in the year 1970 while Pranab Da became an MP in 1969. We belonged to different ideologies but from day one of my meeting him, a mutual bond of respect was formed between us," he added.
Advani said Pranab Mukherjee was known and respected for his sharp, analytical mind and was someone who believed in the necessity of dialogue and cooperation among people of various ideological and political backgrounds.
"His own reflective nature, combined with his long and varied experience in public life, made him a statesman who was admired by people across the political spectrum," the BJP leader said.
"To me personally, he was more than a colleague and we have shared valuable moments both inside and outside of our public lives, which extended even to our families. The memories of various lunches we shared together will always be special in my heart. Though Pranab Da was hospitalised for the last couple of weeks, we were all hoping that he would recover soon," he added.
Advani expressed his heartfelt condolences to members of Pranab Mukherjee's family.
"His passing away is a huge loss to the nation. I have lost a friend. May his soul rest in peace," Advani said. (ANI)