Murli Deora, veteran Congress leader from Maharastra and former petroleum minister, passed away on Monday morning after a prolonged illness. He was 77.
Murli bhai, as he was fondly called, breathed his last at around 3.25 am, according to family sources. He is survived by his wife and two sons, including former MP Milind Deora.
The former Union minister, who held petroleum and corporate affairs ministries during United Progressive Alliance rule, was serving his third term as a Rajya Sabha MP.
Deora was India’s longest serving petroleum minister and held important posts in the party and government during his over four-decade-long career. He was elected to Lok Sabha four times from Mumbai South and had also served as the president of Mumbai Congress for 22 years.
A Gandhi family loyalist and a close confidant of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Deora was a key party fund raiser who was on personal terms with most of India’s well-known industrialists.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leaders and others condoled Deora’s demise and said he was popular across party lines.
“Just yesterday I had spoken to Shri Murli Deora's family and asked about his health. Very sad to hear the unfortunate news today,” Modi said on Twitter.
“My deepest condolences to the Deora family on Shri Murli Deora’s demise. May his soul rest in peace. A dedicated leader, Shri Murli Deora’s warm nature made him popular across party lines. News of his demise is saddening,” Modi said in a series of tweets.
Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the country has lost a veteran parliamentarian. “I am deeply saddened by the demise of Murli Deora. We have lost a veteran parliamentarian and an experienced administrator,” the parliamentary affairs minister said.
Deora’s party colleague Digvijay Singh said, “Murli Bhai is no more. A personal loss to me. A great patriot and a Congress stalwart we shall miss his wit and his sane advice.”
“One of the most amiable persons I knew. He had friends across party lines. We shall forever miss him. Our condolences to the family,” the Congress general secretary said in his tweets.
Congress leader Ajay Maken described him as a pillar of strength. Deora’s mortal remains would be kept at the Mumbai Congress office, where party workers would pay their last respects from 12 noon to 2 pm. His last rites would be performed at Chandanwadi Crematorium later in the day.