New Delhi, June 3 (IANS): Shocked BJP workers and leaders of other parties gathered at the party's headquarters here to pay homage to union Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde, who died in a road accident here this morning.
Munde's body encased in a glass-top coffin was brought on an army truckto the Bharatiya Janata Party's 11 Ashoka Road office for people to pay homage.
The transparent coffin with Munde's body wrapped in a white sheet was carried inside the office and a BJP flag was placed on it.
The tragic news came just a week after the new government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office and Munde was sworn-in as the minister. It left many people in a state of disbelief.
The party office was teeming with BJP workers and leaders as they moved to pay their tributes to the leader who had toiled his way up the party ranks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Lok Janshakti Party leader Ramvilas Paswan, BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Arun Jaitley were among political leaders who paid their tributes to Munde at the BJP office.
Wreaths were laid on behalf of President Pranab Mukherjee and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat also paid his tribute to Munde.
Many of the saddened leaders talked to distraught family members of Munde to console them. Many party workers had tears in their eyes.
Munde, who was among the tallest BJP leaders in Maharashtra, had served as the party's deputy leader in the 15th Lok Sabha.
A mass leader with a smiling disposition, Munde had many friends across parties.
Advani termed Munde's death as "a big loss" for the BJP.
Party leaders said they were informed by doctors that Munde died of cardiac arrest following the accident.