President, Vice President, Prime Minister and a host of leaders today paid rich tributes to Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde, who died following a road accident, describing him as a true and dynamic mass leader and a distinguished public servant.
Expressing grief over the untimely demise of 64-year-old Munde, President Pranab Mukherjee said, "In his death, we have lost a veteran leader who always worked for the common man".
Vice President Hamid Ansari said he was "profoundly saddened" at the passing away of Munde.
"Munde was amongst the most prominent political leaders of Maharashtra who had a long and illustrious public life. In his departure, we have lost a distinguished public servant whose absence will be felt by one and all," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the demise of Munde.
"Extremely saddened & shocked by the demise of my friend & colleague Gopinath Mundeji. He was a true mass leader. Hailing from backward sections of society, he rose to great heights & tirelessly served people," Modi tweeted.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said Munde's demise was an "irreparable loss" to the nation and hailed him as a true "grassroots leader".
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she was shocked to know about the sudden demise of her senior colleague.
Munde's Maharashtra colleague and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar broke down while paying tributes to Munde and said his death was yet to sink in.
"I still cannot believe Mundeji is no longer among us. He was truly a mass leader of Maharashtra," he said.
NCP leader Sharad Pawar described Munde's death as shocking and said, "We have lost a dynamic mass leader".
Congress President Sonia Gandhi conveyed her heartfelt condolence to Munde's family.
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said Munde's death in an accident is a sad and shocking event and offered his condolences to his family and the BJP.