Mumbai: Urns containing ashes of former Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh were handed over to all District Congress Committee (DCC) offices for people all over state to pay their last respects.
The urns will be kept at the DCC offices all over the state on August 29 and 30 and will be immersed with religious rituals in holy waters nearby.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Industries Minister Narayan Rane and state unit party president Manikrao Thakre paid rich tributes to the departed leader while handing over the urns to district unit Congress presidents.
Chavan said Deshmukh never let the world know about his illness. "Whenever I asked him why he has lost weight, he would say he is on a weight loss programme.
Seeing his confidence, we all believed that he would recover from his illness. Deshmukh had established himself well in national politics and was likely to be given important responsibilities," Chief MInister said.
Thakre said Deshmukh worked hard to build the party organisation in the state. "As a tribute to him, we should all carry forward the legacy," he added.
Rane said Deshmukh was an able administrator and a dedicated Congressman. "He never hurt his opponents and always cared for his colleagues. Paying condolences to him is the most unfortunate moment of my life. It is hard to believe he is no more," he said.