Former minister Murli Deora dead

Former minister Murli Deora dead

Veteran Congress leader and former Union minister Murli Deora passed away here on Monday following a prolonged illness. Deora was 77.

A staunch Nehru-Gandhi loyalist, who had friends cutting across party lines and good relations with corporate leaders, Deora was the ace fundraiser and strategist of the Congress party.

The veteran Congressman was also known for his relations with world leaders. He was also considered close to several celebrities, sportspersons and the who’s who.

Deora is survived by wife, Hema, and sons, Mukul, an artiste, musician and entrepreneur, and Milind, a former Union minister.

Murli bhai, as he was known in political circles, passed away at 3:25 am. He was discharged a few days ago from a hospital.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, son and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, daughter Priyanka Gandhi and son-in-law  Robert Vadra, were among those who flew down to Mumbai to pay tributes to the veteran leader.

Deora was a minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government and held portfolios like Petroleum and Natural Gas and later Corporate Affairs.

Deora led India’s oil diplomacy in several countries but later stepped down citing deteriorating health condition. Milind was later accommodated as a minister of state.

Deora contested the Mumbai corporation elections in 1975 and served as Mayor from 1977-78. From 1981 to 2003, for 22 long years, he served as the president of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee.

He was elected four times to the Lok Sabha–1980, 1989, 1991 and 1999–from the prestigious Mumbai South seat. Deora was serving his third term in the Rajya Sabha.

Deora was close to former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and was among the few who pursued Sonia to formally join the Congress and be its president.
As a social worker, he was closely associated with the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and the Indian Red Cross Society.

The Supreme Court in Murli S Deora vs Union of India and others, recognised the harmful effects of smoking in public and also the effect on passive smokers.

In the absence of statutory provisons at that time, the apex court prohibited smoking in public places such as auditoriums, hospital buildings, health institutions, educational institutions, libraries, court buildings, public offices and public conveyances, including the Railways.

Deora was a close family friend of industrialist the late Dhirubhai Ambani and was regarded as “uncle” by the corporate giant’s sons Mukesh and Anil.

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