President, PM condole Shukla's death

New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi Tuesday condoled the death of Congress leader V.C. Shukla, who was seriously injured in a Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh last month.

In his condolence message, Mukherjee said: "Shri Shukla made valuable contribution to the growth of our nation in various capacities and the nation will remember his contributions and his pursuit of excellence in public life."

"I had a long personal association with Shri Shukla. In his death, I have lost a friend, and the nation, an eminent public figure," he said.

The prime minister said he was pained that Shukla lost his life following a brutal attack by Left wing extremists.

"In Vidya Charanji's (Shukla) demise I have lost a very dear colleague, the Congress party a committed member and the country, a staunch nationalist. His passing away has only strengthened our resolve to fight the menace of Left wing extremism with firmness," said Singh.

According to sources, Sonia Gandhi spoke to Shukla's family over the phone.

She instructed party leaders, including Motilal Vora, Digvijaya Singh, Mohsina Kidwai and Chhattisgarh in-charge B.K. Hariprasad, to reach Raipur where Shukla's last rites will be performed.

Shukla, 84, passed away in a Gurgaon hospital Tuesday. He was being treated for bullet injuries sustained during the May 25 Maoist attack on a Congress convoy in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.

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