June 05, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has expressed sadness over the tragic demise of the Union Minister for, Gopinath Munde.
The 64-year-old senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation of India in the new Indian government died in a car crash Tuesday in New Delhi, just eight days after becoming a Minister in the cabinet.
In a personally signed letter to Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, President Rajapaksa extolled the services of the late Minister as "a far-sighted leader who worked tirelessly for the welfare of the people throughout his political career."
Recalling meeting the late Minister at the ceremonial inauguration of the new government last month in New Delhi, President Rajapaksa said that his personal sense of sadness had deepened.
The full text of the President's letter to Indian Prime Minister Modi is as follows:
His Excellency Shri Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of the Republic of India
I am greatly saddened to learn of the tragic demise yesterday of Hon. Shri Gopinath Munde, Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation.
I am aware that the late Minister was a far-sighted leader who worked tirelessly for the welfare of the people throughout his political career. His wide popularity was manifested by his resounding electoral victory in Maharashtra at the recent Lok Sabha elections. The government and the Bharatiya Janata Party have lost a true stalwart with the untimely demise of Shri Munde. The recollection of my meeting the late Minister at the Ceremonial Inauguration of your government last month in New Delhi has deepened my personal sense of sadness.
I convey my heartfelt condolences to you on the loss of a loyal Cabinet colleague, and through you to the members of the bereaved family and pray that they will find the strength and courage to overcome this irreparable loss.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka