Veteran Congress leader Murli Deora passes away

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Mumbai | Updated: November 24, 2014 12:41:03 PM

Murli Deora, who was petroleum minister during UPA 1 regime, is survived by his wife and two sons, including former MP Milind Deora.

Murli Deora, veteran Congress leader from Maharastra and former Petroleum Minister, passed away here this morning after 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 UPA 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 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 & 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 secreatary 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.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi expressed deep grief over the death of Deora, whom she hailed as “symbol of Congress party in Mumbai”

A dedicated political worker, he upheld the Congress Party through thick and thin, she said in a condolence message.

Gandhi also hailed as “remarkable” Deora’s contribution to the nation as a parliamentarian and a Minister.

“The entire Congress party stands with the members of Shri Deora’s family in this hour of grief,” said Gandhi who along with party Vice President Rahul Gandhi will be going to Mumbai to pay tributes to Deora.

Condoling Deora’s death, Union Minister and LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan said he has spent quite a long time in public life and was very popular among colleagues.

Deora first contested the civic elections in Mumbai in 1975. An economics graduate, Deora was Mayor of Mumbai from 1977 to 1978 and elected to Lok Sabha four times from Mumbai South, a seat later held by his son, Milind, who is also a former MP and ex Union Minister.

He joined the Union Cabinet in 2006, shortly before he turned 70 and led oil diplomacy in Myanmar, Algeria and Egypt, and held talks with ministers from Sudan, Chad, Ethopia and Comoros.

Deora also hosted the first India-Africa Hydrocarbon Conference and Exhibition in November 2007. In July 2011, Deora became Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology.

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