Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Jaipal Reddy died in Hyderabad on Sunday. He was 77.

Reddy was admitted to a private hospital in the city’s Gachibowli area after being diagnosed with pneumonia, Hindustan Times reported. His condition turned critical on Saturday and he died at 1.29 am on Sunday.

The last rites of Reddy will be performed on Monday, Congress Lok Sabha member Komatireddy Venkat Reddy told PTI. He added that they will request the state government to allocate a place for performing the last rites as thousands of people are expected to attend. A regular crematorium cannot accommodate such a big crowd, Venkat Reddy added.

He said the Congress party will request the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to name a project or place after Reddy.

Reddy joined politics as a student leader at Osmania University and was elected to the legislature on a Congress ticket in the 1970s, The Hindu reported. He quit the party in protest against the Emergency, and joined the Janata Party. He served as its general secretary between 1985 and 1988. Reddy returned to the Congress in the following decade.

He was the information and broadcasting minister in IK Gujral government. During the first term of the United Progressive Alliance, Reddy held portfolios such as urban development and culture. He retained the role in second tenure of the United Progressive Alliance government. Reddy later became the minister of petroleum and natural gas, and was subsequently shifted to the science and technology and earth sciences ministries.

President Ram Nath Kovind said Reddy was a thinking person’s politician and an outstanding parliamentarian. “My condolences to his family and many associates,” he added.

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu called Reddy a “towering intellectual” and “excellent speaker”. “With his razor sharp intellect and biting wit, he was also a powerful spokesperson of the party to which he belonged,” Naidu said. “He is known for cherishing and upholding democratic values. A tireless champion of the vulnerable & marginalized sections, his absence will be profoundly felt.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Reddy was an articulate speaker and effective administrator. “Shri Jaipal Reddy had years of experience in public life...Saddened by his demise. My thoughts are with his family and well-wishers in this hour of grief.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said: “An outstanding parliamentarian, great son of Telangana, he [Reddy] dedicated his entire life towards public service. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor described Reddy as feisty, articulate and principled. “Despite ill-health which confined him to a wheelchair in his last years, he remained a man of conviction and courage, as well as considerable charm.”

Telangana Congress chief Uttar Kumar Reddy said Reddy’s death was a “huge personal loss” for him and the Congress. “We are saddened to hear of the passing of former Union minister Jaipal Reddy,” tweeted the party. “A senior Congress leader, he served as a Lok Sabha MP five times, An Rajya Sabha MP two times and as an MLA four times. We hope his family and friends find strength in their time of grief.”