Politicians condole Vinod Khanna's death

New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation on Thursday to pay homage to Bollywood actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna who died at a Mumbai hospital following a prolonged illness.

Khanna, 70, a sitting BJP MP, was battling cancer and was hospitalised for about a month before his death on Thursday that left millions of his fans, including politicians, grieving.

"Will always remember Vinod Khanna as a popular actor, dedicated leader and a wonderful human. Pained by his demise. My condolences," tweeted Modi.

President Pranab Mukherjee sent "heartfelt condolences" to the Khannas describing Vinod Khanna as "a highly talented and acclaimed actor and MP". 

Other politicians who expressed grief over his death include Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP President Amit Shah and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Fadnavis tweeted he was "saddened to know about the demise of one of the greatest legends of (the) Indian cinema".

Shah said that the nation had "not only lost an actor par excellence but an outstanding politician" and said his death was "an irreparable loss for the Indian cinema and the BJP".

Wrote Rajnath Singh: "Vinod Khanna had an illustrious career in films and politics. He carved a special place in the hearts of millions of Indians."

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje expressed "condolences to the family and fans of the veteran actor and dynamic leader."

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley prayed for "peace to the departed soul and solace to his family".

Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said he "deeply" mourned the death of Khanna "a versatile film personality and a great human being".

Union Agriculture Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said he was "very sad to know of the demise". 

Textiles Minister Smriti Irani, also an actor-turned-politician, said Vinod Khanna was "a legend in his own right". She said she "had the honour of producing a series with him".

Union Minister of State for Power Piyush Goyal was also "deeply saddened by the demise of the BJP leader".