Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and former Union minister Raghunath Jha died of a kidney ailment on Sunday night at Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, The Hindu reported. He was 78.

Jha was a Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise in the United Progressive Alliance government led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He was also a confidant of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, PTI reported.

Through his political career, Jha has been with the Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Socialist Party and the Samajwadi party, The Hindu reported. He was elected Member of Parliament twice from Bihar’s Gopalgunj and Bettiah Lok Sabha constituencies and was also a six-time legislator from Sheohar Assembly constituency .

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar called Jha “a skilled political leader and a devoted social worker”. Kumar said Jha will be cremated with full state honours. Jha’s last rites will be performed at his home district of Sheohar, his son and two-time RJD MLA Ajit Kumar Jha said.

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said, “Bihar’s polity has suffered an irreparable loss by the death of Shri Raghunath Jha.”

Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son and the leader of the Opposition in the state, Tejashwi Yadav, said the death of “Raghunath Chacha (uncle) is irreparable”. “I’m in Ranchi and will let our party leader [Lalu Prasad Yadav] know about Jha chacha’s death,” Tejashwi said, according to The Hindu.