Panaji, Feb 14 (IANS) Former Goa Deputy Chief Minister and BJP MLA Francis D'Souza died at a city hospital here on Thursday after a prolonged battle with cancer.
D'Souza's death brings the legislative tally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to 13 MLAs in the 38-member Goa Legislative Assembly, one short of the Congress party, which has 14 MLAs.
The Goa government has declared a three-day mourning in view of the death of 64-year-old legislator, who was one of the seniormost Catholic legislators of the saffron party in Goa.
Politicians from across party lines condoled D'Souza's death.
"Extremely pained to hear about the demise of my dear childhood friend, colleague and former Deputy Chief Minister (Dy CM) of Goa advocate Francis D'Souza. A wonderful human being and a leader loved by all. He devoted himself to public service. His demise is a great personal loss," Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar tweeted.
BJP spokesperson Damodar Naik said the party had lost an "iconic" leader.
State Congress President Girish Chodankar said that D'Souza was a "humble and soft-spoken" leader who discharged his duties as a social worker and a legislator well.
The Aam Aadmi Party in Goa also condoled his death, calling him a "gentleman politician".
D'Souza was being treated in the same New York facility as ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer and had been admitted to a local health facility over the last few weeks.
D'Souza was the Deputy CM in the Parrikar-led government in 2012. He was also appointed the Cabinet Minister in-charge of Urban Development in the BJP-led government sworn-in in 2017, but was later dropped as a minister on health grounds.