Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday hoisted the tri-colour at the party headquarters on the occasion of Independence Day without any celebration as the AICC mourned the untimely demise of Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
The AICC also passed a condolence resolution after a meeting of all its office beares saying that Deshmukh's sudden and untimely death on Tuesday was a huge loss not only for Maharashtra and Congress but for the country's public life.
Neither sweets were distributed nor any cultural programme followed the flag hoisting, which was attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with most of his cabinet colleagues including finance minister P Chidambaram, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, power minister M Veerappa Moily and petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy.
Rahul Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Murli Deora, RK Dhawan and ML Fotedar attended the function along with several other party leaders.
"As you know senior Congress leader Vilasrao Deshmukh is no more. Today his last rites are being performed. Since it is the Independence Day, the flag hoisting is a necessity. But all other programmes have been cancelled.
"As all the party office-bearers are present, it was decided to hold a meeting after the flag hoisting in which a condolence resolution has been passed," Dwivedi said.
The resolution noted that Deshmukh reached the high position after starting his public life from grassroots of Panchayatiraj.
"He carried out all his responsibility defty while being Chief Minister in the state and Union Minister. Deshmukh kept moving forward with his balanced approach in every situation....His absence will be felt by all," the resolution said.
The Prime Minister, the Congress President and Union Ministers, including Sharad Pawar and Shinde, are leaving for Maharashtra in the afternoon to attend the last rites of Deshmukh.