Senior Congress leader Murli Deora passes away

Mumbai: Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Murli Deora passed away here this morning after prolonged illness.

He was 77 and is survived by his wife and two sons, including former MP Milind Deora.

Murli bhai, as he was known?as, died?at around 3.25 am. He had been unwell and admitted to hospital. He was brought home two days ago, family sources said.

Deora’s mortal remains would be kept at the Mumbai Congress office, where party workers would pay their last respects from 12 noon to 2pm. His last rites would be performed at Chandanwadi Crematorium later in the day, the family sources said.

Deora, who held several important portfolios during his decades-long career, 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.

Deora was serving his third term as a Rajya Sabha MP.

The Congress veteran held the portfolio of Petroleum and Natural Gas during the UPA?1 regime. He had also served as the president of Mumbai Congress for 22 years.

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.