New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Congress veteran and former Union Home Minister Buta Singh passed away at the age of 86 on Saturday morning. Singh was reportedly not well over the last few days and was in Delhi for treatment. 

Following his demise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his tribute to him and said that he is pained by his death. "Shri Buta Singh Ji was an experienced administrator and effective voice for the welfare of the poor as well as downtrodden. Saddened by his passing away. My condolences to his family and supporters," PM Modi tweeted.

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi also paid homeage to Singh and said India has lost a true public crusader and dedicated leader. Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi also expressed grief on demise of Singh and spoke to his son over phone.

Born on March 21, 1934, Singh served as the Union Home Minister in the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet. The veteran politician, who also served the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, had fought his first elections as an Shiromani Akali Dal member before joining the Congress in 1960.

Known for his closeness with former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, Singh was first elected to Lok Sabha in 1962. In 1978, Singh became the General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC).

He also played a crucial role during the Khalistani movement in the 1970s and 80s. Singh was closely involved in the Operation Blue Star and oversaw the reconstruction of the Golden Temple after it.

He was also close to becoming the President of India in 1982 but lost to Giani Zail Singh in the race.

The Congress veteran also served as the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes from 2007 to 2010. He left the Congress following a dispute but later rejoined the party in 2015.

Singh has also authored several Punjabi articles and has also written a book known as 'Punjabi Speaking State -- A Critical Analysis'.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma