Expressing grief over the loss of party veteran Vidya Charan Shukla, Congress MP Raj Babbar on Tuesday condoled the former's demise, and said his death is not only a loss to Chhattisgarh Congress but to the entire country.
"He breathed his last today after being critically injured in the 25th May Maoists attack. I am personally grieved and I pray to God that his soul rests in peace and also give enough strength to his family to face this sad news," he said.
The actor-turned politician also disapproved the audacious attack by the ultras on a Congress convoy a fortnight ago in Chhattisgarh
"They don't want to understand democratic values and avenge everything with the barrel of a gun, they want to reply with bullets. In the all party meet, the Prime Minister and the government have clearly stated that if any faction would resort to the use of arms, then stern action will be taken against them," he added.
Shukla, who was critically injured in the Maoist attack on May 25, was airlifted to the Medanta Medicity Hospital from Raipur a day after the attack.
Heavily-armed Maoists had on May 25 ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in the state's Bastar district, killing 28 people including PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel, his son Dinesh, Congress leader Mahendra Karma and ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar and injuring 37 others.
The Chhattisgarh Government has announced a three-day official mourning. His body will be flown to Raipur and the last rites will take place with full state honors tomorrow.
For the general elections in 1957, the Congress Party chose him as their Lok Sabha candidate from Mahasamund constituency. He won with a thumping majority and entered the Parliament of India as one of the youngest Parliamentarians.
He returned elected to Lok Sabha nine times in subsequent elections. When Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1966, she chose him as a Minister in her Cabinet.
In a long span of political career, he has held many portfolios including Communications, Home, Defence, Finance, Planning, Information and Broadcasting, Civil Supplies, External Affairs, Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources.