Shimla, Aug 2 (PTI) The Monsoon Session of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly began on Monday with members cutting across party lines paying glowing tributes to Congress veteran and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh.

The proceedings were adjourned for the day after members paid tributes to six-time former CM Singh, BJP chief whip Narinder Bragta and former MLAs Mohan Lal, Ram Singh and Amar Singh Chauhan, all of whom died since the last session of the Assembly.

The House assembled at 2 PM.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed grief at the demise of Arki MLA Virbhadra Singh, Jubbal-Kotkhai MLA Bragta and the three former legislators.

Recalling Virbhadra Singh's contributions to the state, Thakur said everyone should learn from his patience and the development model he adopted.

Thakur said he was an MLA when Virbhadra Singh was the chief minister and that the latter always showered his love and affection on him. The CM said he was like a family member of Virbhadra Singh.

The crowd at his funeral showed that he was loved by one and all, the chief minister said.

Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri said a statue of Virbhadra Singh should be installed at Ridge Maidan in Shimla as a token of respect to his exemplary services to the hill state.

Virbhadra Singh's son and Shimla Rural MLA Vikramaditya said, “I saw him as a statesman, as a politician.”

Recalling Virbhadra Singh's first meeting with late PM Jawaharlal Nehru, Vikramaditya said Nehru had brought his father into politics by giving him a Congress ticket from Mahasu in 1962. He was the only politician in the country who had a chance to work with all the prime ministers -- from Nehru to incumbent Narendra Modi.

Virbhadra Singh worked for the cause of the general public and for the promotion of Hindu religion, and played a vital role in the renovation of Tara Devi and Hatu temples, he added.

That is why all the organisations, including the RSS and the VHP, came forward to pay condolences on his demise, he added.

Deputy Speaker Hans Raj said he had high regard and respect for Virbhadra Singh, a nine-time MLA.

CPI(M) MLA Rakesh Singha said Virbhadra Singh was "an institution in himself and did politics on his terms.”

Asha Kumari, Rakesh Pathania, Ram Lal Thakur, Dhani Ram Shandil, Kamlesh Kumari, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, Bikram Jariyal, Jagat Singh Negi, Balbir Verma, Harshvardhan Chauhan and Jeet Ram Katwal also paid tributes to the departed leaders.

The Speaker adjourned the House after making obituary references to the departed leaders.

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