Mumbai, Nov 24:
Veteran Congress leader and former union minister Murli Deora passed away here early Monday following a brief illness, a senior party leader said.
He was 77 and the end came around 3.30 am. He is survived by his wife and two sons, including former union minister of state Milind M. Deora.
A former Mayor of Mumbai in 1977-78, and later chief or the Congress Party’s city unit for two decades, he was also Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai South, besides being the union minister for petroleum and natural gas, among other important assignments.
Deora’s body will be kept for public darshan at the Mumbai Region Congress Committee (MRCC) office in south Mumbai and the funeral ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. Monday at the Chandanwadi crematorium in the city.
Top party leaders and politicians cutting across the political spectrum started arriving at the Deora residence to pay their last respects to the high-profile leader.
Deora was one of the pillars of support to the Gandhi family and the Congress Party.
An economics graduate with a strong pro-US temperament, the Mumbai-born Deora had excellent personal relations with top political and business leaders, celebrities and media personalities all over the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday condoled the death of Deora here and described him as a leader with “a warm nature”.
“A dedicated leader, Murli Deora’s warm nature made him popular across party lines. News of his demise is saddening. My deepest condolences to Milind Deora and the Deora family on Murli Deora’s demise. May his soul rest in peace,” Modi said in a message.
The prime minister said that Sunday, he had spoken to the Deora family and enquired about his health.
“Very sad to hear the unfortunate news today (Monday),” he said.