A number of leaders including Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, former deputy prime minister L K Advani and BJP President Amit Shah and ministers today condoled VHP leader Ashok Singhal's demise.
Advani said he had visited Singhal only today and is shocked at his demise. He said Singhal remained international working president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad for over 20 years and was the chief architect of the Ramjanmabhoomi movement.
"I have had the privilege of interacting with him on a number of occasions. He was a man of sound knowledge and committed ideals. I mourn Shri Ashok Singhal's passing away. May the departed soul rest in peace," he said in his message.
Expressing deep condolences, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan described him as a "modern saint" and said, "in his death, we have lost a saint-like person."
She said he worked hard to set up VHP and expand it nation-wide and helped bring all religious leaders on one platform to create harmony.
"His death is a big loss to social and religious fields. His entire life was dedicated to the service of the nation and society and he had immense contribution to all sections, especially the poor," she said.
In his condolence message, BJP President Amit Shah said despite having born in a prosperous family, he gave up everything in his youth and took to the service of the nation.
"His entire life was dedicated to Mother India. It is an irreparable loss to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, VHP and the entire nation," he said.
In their condolence message, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and his deputy Suresh Bhayyaji Joshi said in Singhal's demise the entire Hindu community in the world has suffered a big loss.
"Ashok Singhalji's sad demise is a great loss, he was a fearless personality respected by all," Bhagwat said in Kannur
In a joint statement, the two RSS leaders said, "Through Vishwa Hindu Parishad, he uplifted the Hindu community and awakened its pride. He earned respect from all saints. He was well-versed with the fundamentals of Hindu philosophy and that was reflected in his words and actions. His leadership role in Hindu awakening in independent India would be remembered."
BJP Spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi also paid rich tributes to the VHP patron and said he was an institution who dedicated his entire life to the country, society and organisation.
"His contribution towards uplift the poor, dalits and tribals besides the under-privileged was immense. He will remain an inspiration for many generations."
Terming it a "personal loss", Union minister Ananth Kumar said, "India has lost a glorious son, whose contribution to nationalism will remain the guiding lamp to many of us" and said his contribution will keep inspiring millions.
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan paid rich tributes to Singhal and expressed his condolences over his demise.
Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said Singhal "devoted his entire life for the cause and unity of Hindus. He has taken unity and welfare of Hindu Dharma as his life mission. It is a great loss to the country."