Leaders from across the political spectrum today paid glowing tributes to former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing him as a "self-made" leader who had a "monumental" contribution in the development of the North-East.
Expressing shock and grief at Sangma's demise, his parliamentary colleagues recalled his tenure as Speaker in the 11th Lok Sabha and his affable nature and effervescence, which endeared him to many.
Offering his condolence, the Prime Minister said that Sangma's tenure as Lok Sabha Speaker "is unforgettable".
He was "a self-made leader whose contribution towards the development of the North East is monumental. Saddened by his demise," Modi said on twitter.
The Prime Minister said that Sangma had a "down-to-earth personality and affable nature" and added that he was deeply influenced by Netaji Bose."
Sangma was a nine-time MP and represented Tura Lok Sabha seat in Meghalaya.
"He was a very effective and successful Speaker. It was shocking news because he was quite fit and active. The country has lost a great person who was a champion of North-East's cause," NCP Chief Sharad Pawar said. Sangma was the co-founder of NCP.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announced the news of Sangma's death in the House. Parliament was adjourned today as a mark of respect for the departed leader.
"He was my good friend and a great human being. The work he has done as Lok Sabha Speaker will be remembered by the country and Parliament, particularly, the work he did for the development of the North-East. We have lost an ideal speaker of Parliament," Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said Sangma was liked and admired by all political leaders irrespective of their political difference.
"It's deeply saddening and shocking news for all of us because he was in the House till two days ago. In fact, he had given his name to speak on the President's address"
"He was a very popular figure whatever the political differences people may have had with him, everyone liked and admired him a great deal. He was somebody who was universally liked.
"Our prayers go out to him and his family. India has lost an important leader from the North-East. Somebody who was chief minister at the age of 41," the MP said.
Sangma was also the Chief Minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990 and Leader of Opposition in the assembly from 1990 to 1991.
Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said Sangma was a veteran parliamentarian and a "true nationalist".
"As Speaker of Lok Sabha, he had set very high standards in the conduct of proceedings of the House. His warm and affable personality will be remembered forever. His passing away is a great loss to the nation. My heartfelt condolences to his family members. May his soul rest in peace," the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said.
Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who was Railway Minister in 1996 when Sangma was Speaker, said the latter was not only a tribal leader and "tallest" leader in North East but a national figure.
Paswan recalled that only four days back he had interacted with Sangma.
Lok Sabha MP Kalvakuntala Kavita, daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, said that a strong voice from North Eastern has gone with Sangma's sudden demise.
"Had seen him in the Parliament for past two days. Shocking to know," she said while condoling Sangma's demise.
Chief Ministers of various states also expressed grief over the demise of the leader.
Rajasthan Chief minister Vasundhara Raje in her condolence message said that Sangma during his tenure as the Speaker maintained high standards of parliamentary traditions.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, "Saddened and shocked at the passing away of Purno Sangma. Fond memories of him in Lok Sabha. My condolences to his family. Rest in Peace."
Former Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan said, "My condolences on the sad demise of P A Sangma. Former Speaker, a distinguished parliamentarian and a true leader from North East."
Former Union minister Milind Deora said, "Saddened to hear about P A Sangma. He was an outstanding parliamentarian and a gregarious and popular leader."
Bhishma Narain Singh, former Governor of Assam and Meghalaya, said Sangma had all round appeal with leaders of all political parties.
Singh said Sangma used his public speaking and oratory skills to espousing the cause of all-round development of north eastern states.
Describing Sangma as a successful Lok Sabha Speaker, Singh said his political life starting as a Congress worker and the rise thereafter has been phenomenal.
In a condolence message, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khatar described Sangma as a "seasoned statesman" who worked relentlessly for marginalised sections of society.
Expressing shock, Tami Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa hailed Sangma as "outstanding parliamentarian who will remain etched in the sands of time".
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also expressed grief over the demise of the former Lok Sabha Speaker.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul said, "I on behalf of the people of Arunachal, share the grief of losing a true son of the soil, a patriot, a veteran politician of all time, and a man who led from the front and left behind a legacy to cherish."
Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah said, "he was an able administrator and an eminent Parliamentarian."
Punjab Assembly Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal described Sangma's demise as "an irreparable loss to the country".
Condoling Sangma's death, BJP chief Amit Shah tweeted, "Saddened by the sudden demise of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma. My condolences to the bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace."
JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav also paid rich tributes to Sangma. Calling him a "great son of soil", he said, in his death the country has lost not only an able parliamentarian and a dedicated social worker but also an outstanding public figure.
"His tenure as the Speaker is unforgettable as the way he handled the House with great sense of humour and wit. He was a very knowledgeable person, not only in respect of the Constitution but about the entire country and the world. He travelled many countries and commanded respect all over. He was a very very simple person so is his entire family," Yadav said.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also expressed grief over Sangma's demise.
"Very sad to learn about passing away of Shri P. A. Sangma. Condolences to the members of bereaved family," he tweeted.