Veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister Murli Deora left for his heavenly abode on Monday morning after a prolonged illness. He had been unwell and was hospitalised. The 77 year old leader is survived by his wife and two sons, including former MP Milind Deora. Deora’s mortal remains were kept at the Mumbai Congress office, where party workers paid their last respects from 12 noon to 2 pm. He held petroleum and corporate affairs ministries during United Progressive Alliance rule, was serving his third term as a Rajya Sabha MP.
An economics graduate, Deora was Mayor of Mumbai from 1977 to 1978 and was later elected to the 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 was elected to Lok Sabha four times from Mumbai South and had also served as the president of Mumbai Congress for 22 years.
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.
Deora had held several key positions during his decades long political career. During 1968-78 he was the Councillor of Municipal Corporation of Mumbai. He served as Mayor of Mumbai from 1977 to 1978.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi expressed deep grief over the death of former Union Minister Murli Deora, whom she hailed as “symbol of Congress party in Mumbai”, a reference to his over two-decade-long innings as party chief in the megapolis.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is in Nagpur, described Deora as one of the tallest leaders from the state.
“He leaves behind a rich legacy of political and social work,” Fadnavis said.
Upon hearing the news, Congress leaders, activists and grassroots workers, besides top businessmen and industrialists, reached the Deora residence in south Mumbai to pay homage.
Former Congress MP Priya Dutt said Deora was a mentor to her in politics after her father Sunil Dutt passed away.
Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde said she was sad and shocked to learn about Deora’s demise.
“Since I was small, I have seen his dedication to his work and his party,” she said.
BJP MP Poonam Mahajan said the senior Congress leader was a family friend as her father Pramod Mahajan and Deora were colleagues in Parliament.
Deora’s mortal remains were carried by his sons Milind and Mukund, and others in a huge funeral procession which started from the MRCC headquarters to Girgaum and consigned to the flames late evening at Chandanwadi crematorium.