Congress president Sonia Gandhi said she will not take part in celebrations on her birthday tomorrow in the wake of the sudden demise of chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat in a chopper crash on Wednesday. She further urged party workers to strictly avoid any festivities, following which preparations for a programme were called off.
Issuing an advisory, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal wrote on Twitter, “Hon’ble Congress President has decided not to celebrate her birthday, tomorrow the 9th December. Urging party workers and supporters to strictly avoid any celebrations.”
Lok Sabha MP Manickam Tagore said all celebrations have been canceled as a “mark of respect for the brave general”.
“Another example from Congress president about her sensitivity. In respect of #CDSBipinRawat Congress party decide to cancel celebrations as mark of respect for the brave General,” Tagore wrote on the microblogging platform.
An Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu in which General Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 11 others lost their lives.
Confirming the deaths, the IAF said, “With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident,” the IAF said.
Following this, tributes poured in from several leaders across political parties, besides President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The nation is shocked & saddened by the passing away of Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat. Our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. We stand with the nation at this time of grief. May he rest in peace,” the Congress said in its official Twitter handle.
Party leader Rahul Gandhi called the accident an “unprecedented tragedy” and offered his condolences to the family of Rawat and others who lost their lives.
“I extend my condolences to the family of Gen Bipin Rawat and his wife. This is an unprecedented tragedy and our thoughts are with their family in this difficult time. Heartfelt condolences also to all others who lost their lives. India stands united in this grief,” he said.