Senior NCP leader D P Tripathi, who was known for his political acumen and wit, passed away on Thursday here after a prolonged illness, his family said.
He was 67.
Tripathi, who was the general secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), was battling cancer.
Describing Tripathi as a scholar, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said he was a perfect blend of diligence and intelligence.
"A firm voice who took a stand for my party as a spokesperson and general secretary. He has been with us since the establishment of the Nationalist Congress Party and played a very important role at the national level. His demise is a personal loss to me. May his soul rest in peace!" he tweeted.
Party MP Supriya Sule said Tripathi was a guide and mentor. "We will miss his wise counsel and guidance which he had given us from the day the NCP was established," she said.
"May he rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with his family members. Heartfelt condolences," Sule said.
Known in Delhi's political circles as an erudite personality, Tripathi began his career as a students' leader. He was the president of the Jawaharlal Nehru Students Union (JNUSU) from 1975-77 and was even jailed during the Emergency.
Tripathi, who was visually challenged, had also been a lecturer of political science at the Allahabad University.
From becoming a close aide to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to growing close to NCP president Sharad Pawar, Tripathi enjoyed warm relations with leaders across party lines.
Known for his witty one-liners and his proficiency in Hindi and English, Tripathi had also served as a NCP spokesperson.
When there was a buzz about merging of the NCP with the Congress, Tripathi had said, "We are there to emerge, not merge."
In the same breath, he said in Hindi, "Hum lay chahate hain, vilay nahi (We want coordination and not merger)."
During his stint as a parliamentarian from 2012-2018, Tripathi's attendance in the Rajya Sabha was 98 per cent, despite battling cancer during that phase.
When the opposition tried to rally against the Modi government over Rafale deal, EVMs and economic slowdown, Tripathi represented the NCP.
He was active until last month when the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP were engaged in hectic parleys over government formation in Maharashtra.
Tributes poured across party lines condoling his death.
Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar recalled how he would discuss world affairs with the senior NCP leader.
"Deeply grieved to learn of the passing away of DP Tripathi. Since 1973, when we joined JNU, have discussed and debated the world with him. Always open-minded and pragmatic. Will miss him very much," he tweeted.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury recalled Tripathi as a "fellow traveller" and said he will be missed.
"Comrade, fellow-student, fellow-traveller and much more. From university and right until his last days we spoke, argued, disagreed, and learnt so much together. You will be missed, my friend. Deepest condolences," he said in a tweet.
The JD(U), which is in power in Bihar, described the deceased leader as a distinguished parliamentarian, an extraordinary speaker, thinker and writer.
The party noted that Tripathi commenced his political journey as a JNUSU president and became one of the most prominent politicians of India.
Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary recalled 'DPT', as Tripathi was fondly known, as an orator and a fighter.
"DPT emerged out of student politics and made a mark with his sharp oratory and intellect. Known as a fighter who made his way through illness and adversity, Tripathi ji was always good counsel and a man who kept promises and maintained relationships," he said.
Congress leader Manish Tiwari remembered Tripathi as a "friend, philosopher and guide".
"My friend philosopher and guide the irrepressible, irreverent, incisive and intellectual DP Tripathi is no more. RIP Professor you have left us when this nation perhaps needed you most," he tweeted.