Former Maharashtra chief minister AR Antulay died in a Mumbai hospital on Tuesday after a long spell of illness. He was 85.
The veteran Congress leader had been admitted to Breach Candy Hospital around a month ago for severe kidney ailment. He had renal failure a year-and-a-half ago.
Antulay had been a heart patient for years. He underwent a bypass surgery in 1985 and a pacemaker was fitted in 1993.
"He ultimately succumbed to renal failure," said Mustaq Antulay, his nephew and son-in-law. Doctors had told his family that he was not in a condition to undergo a kidney transplant.
The funeral will take place at his native Ambet village in the state's Raigad district on Wednesday.
Antulay, Congress' minority face was a minister in UPA-1 government in his last stint but had fallen out with the senior party leadership in the last few years. A Gandhi family loyalist, Antulay had openly rebelled against the party top brass before the 2014 Lok Sabha electiosn when the Congress had handed over his Raigad seat to the NCP.
He had contested his last Lok Sabha polls in 2009 but lost the seat to Shiv Sena candidate.
The first Muslim CM of Maharashtra, Antulay had a BA degree from Mumbai University and was a barrister-at -law from London. His stint as the CM was short from 1980 to 1982 and ended with a controversy following allegations of cement scam.
Despite the controversial stint, he was looked upon as an able administrator who took some bold decisions to decentralise power including bifurcation of districts for better administration, development of hilly areas including his hometown Konkan, setting up administrative headquarters in Navi Mumbai, pension scheme for old and destitutes and state loans to poor farmers.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha four times and the Maharashtra assembly from 1962 to 1976 and from 1980 to 1989. After his controversial tenure as CM, he was in a political exile for almost a decade but was included in the Congress government at the Centre in 1995 and then in 2004.
"He was a tall leader of our party and the state and we mourn his demise. Throughout his political career, he tried to do justice to the issues of the poor and socially backward classes. He was an exemplary Parliamentarian,'' said Congress party president in Maharashtra Manikrao Thakre.
"We were political opponents but personal friends. He was someone who deserved political centre stage as he was a capable administrator and a well-educated leader,'' said Sena senior leader Manohar Joshi.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in his condolence message for the departed leader said, "Maharashtra has lost an aggressive and studied politician, who was a popular among the masses. During his stint as the CM, he focussed on addressing the issues of the common man."
The state government has announced a three-day official mourning period in view of Antulay's demise. No official programmes, including oath-taking ceremonies for the new cabinet, will be held during this period.