K C Pant passes away
However, he switched loyalties to BJP in 1998 when it emerged as the ruling party. His wife successfully contested from Nainital Lok Sabha constituency on a BJP ticket.
Pant himself became Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission in 2000 under the then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee who was the Chairman of the body.
Condoling the death of Pant, Antony said his contribution will be "fondly remembered" as he steered the Ministry at one of the most critical junctures of history.
"Pant steered the Ministry at one of the most critical junctures of history as the Indian Peace Keeping Forces were deployed in Sri Lanka as a stepping stone to the tortuous journey for peace in the island nation.
"The Indian troops were also deployed at short notice in Maldives to abort a coup attempt, in a clear manifestation of our commitment to the promotion of peace and stability in South Asian Region," he said.
Antony also remembered Pant as one who bolstered the armed forces in a big way with the acquisition of country's flagship aircraft carrier INS Viraat and MIG-29 aircraft among many other acquisitions.
"He was also instrumental in the setting up of the first Coast Guard Air Station at Daman," Antony said.
Born in 1931 in Nainital, Pant was a post graduate in science and joined Congress to enter politics. Pant first got elected to Lok Sabha in 1962 and was reelected in