Former Goa deputy Chief Minister and current BJP MLA Francis D'Souza died Thursday evening, his party said. D'Souza, 64, was undergoing treatment at a private hospital near here after undergoing surgery for cancer in the USA.
With his death, the BJP's strength in the 40-member Goa assembly comes down to 13. "I am deeply saddened by the news...I extend my deepest sympathies to his family. May the departed soul be at peace," said South Goa BJP MP Narendra Sawaikar on Twitter, announcing the news of D'Souza's death.
"He is an icon for all the upcoming leaders as to how a person should be, and he was loyal to the party till his last breath," he said. D'Souza had been dropped from the current Manohar Parrikar-led Goa government along with Pandurang Madkaikar on health grounds when he was being treated in the United States.
He was elected to Goa Legislative Assembly in 1999 as Goa Rajiv Congress party candidate, and joined the BJP and was elected to the assembly in 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017 from Mapusa. D'Souza was appointed deputy Chief Minister when BJP formed a government in 2012 under Manohar Parrikar's leadership. He continued in that post in the Laxmikant Parsekar-led cabinet too.
(With inputs from agencies.)