New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi Monday 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.
A dedicated political worker, he upheld the Congress Party through its 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 convey her condolences.
The veteran Congress leader from Maharastra and former Petroleum Minister, passed away in Mumbai this morning after prolonged illness. He was 77.
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.
Condoling Deora's death, Union Minister and LJP leader RamVilas Paswan said he has spent quite a long time in public life and was very popular among colleagues.