HYDERABAD -- Veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister P. Shiv Shankar passed away on Monday after prolonged illness. He was 88.
The judge-turned-politician and former Governor of Sikkim and Kerala is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
According to his family members, he breathed his last at his residence in Jubilee Hills.
Born on 10 August, 1929, at Mamidipalli in Ranga Reddy district, Shiv Shankar was a prominent leader from the backward classes and served as a minister in Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi governments.
Shiv Shankar, whose political career spanned over four decades, was once considered the second most powerful leader in the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet.
After doing his LLB from Osmania University, he practised as an advocate before being elevated as Andhra Pradesh High Court judge in 1974.
Later, he joined Congress to begin his political career. Considered a symbol of composite Hyderabadi culture, he was fluent in Urdu, besides Telugu and English.
He was first elected to Lok Sabha from Secunderabad in 1978. He got re-elected in 1980 and became a Minister in the Indira Gandhi cabinet, holding the portfolio of Law and Justice.
Elected to Rajya Sabha in 1985 from Gujarat, he completed two terms till 1993. He served as a Minister for External Affairs, Commerce, Petroleum and Human Resource Development in the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet.
He was leader of the house in Rajya Sabha till 1989 and after Congress lost power, was the Leader of Opposition in the upper house till 1991.
On 21 September, 1994, Shiv Shankar was made the Governor of Sikkim, a post which he had held till 11 November, 1995. Later, he was shifted to Kerala, where he was Governor till 1996.
He returned to active politics in 1998, winning Tenali Lok Sabha seat. However, he ended his long association with the Congress in 2004 after being denied a ticket.
He tried to revive his political career in 2008 by joining Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) floated by Telugu actor Chiranjeevi.
However, as PRP suffered huge defeat both in Lok Sabha and assembly elections and later merged with the Congress, Shiv Shankar's political career had almost come to an end. He subsequently stayed away from politics due to old age and illness.
His son and Congress legislator P. Sudhir Kumar died of illness in 2002. Sudhir was kidnapped by Maoists from his house in Hyderabad in 1991 but was later released.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan expressed profound sadness at Shiv Shankar's death.
Recalling the yeoman services rendered by Shiv Sankar as Union Minister and Governor, he said that his memory will be cherished for his immense contribution to the country.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi also condoled his death.
"I am deeply grieved to learn of the passing away of your father P. Shiv Shankar. He was known for his political acumen and legal luminance. He worked closely with both Indira ji (former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi) and Rajiv ji (former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi)," she wrote in her condolence message to his son P. Vinay Kumar.
"His life in politics was marked by his dedication to public service and and his deep commitment to the aspirations to the people of Andhra Pradesh. His passing away is a great loss for the party and the nation," she added.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi too condoled his death.
"Sincere condolences on the passing away of former Union Minister Shri P Shiv Shankar.
"A veteran leader and a distinguished legal mind he served the nation with courage & commitment. His loss will be deeply mourned," he wrote on his official Twitter account.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao expressed his shock over Shiv Shankar's death. He visited his house to pay his last respects and condole with the family members.
In a message, he recalled the services rendered by Shiv Shankar as a leader, Judge, Union Minister, and Governor.
He directed the officials concerned to make arrangements for the official funeral of the departed leader who happens to be from Telangana region.
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