The Lok Sabha Speaker (India), G.M.C. Balayogi, died when a private helicopter in which he was travelling crashed while trying to make an emergency landing at Kovvadalanka village in Kolleru area of Krishna district this morning. His assistant secretary, Sathi Raju, and pilot, G. V. Menon, were also killed.
The Union Cabinet today condoled the death of the Lok Sabha Speaker, G. M. C. Balayogi, killed in a copter crash in Andhra Pradesh, and decided to observe a two-day national mourning and accord a State funeral to the departed leader. The national flag will fly at half-mast on Government buildings as a mark of respect and all official functions stand cancelled.
Tributes poured in, with the President, K. R. Narayanan, the Vice-President, Kishan Kant, the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and leaders of various political parties and organisations expressing shock over the death of Mr. Balayogi - first Lok Sabha Speaker to die in harness.
Everyone recalled the affable and smooth manner in which the youngest Speaker conducted the proceedings of the 12th and 13th Lok Sabha and carried everybody along during a difficult phase.
May God give Eternal peace to the departed soul and courage to the bereaved family.
With deepest condolence