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SP leader passes away

india Updated: Jan 22, 2010 23:50 IST
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Samajwadi Party leader and former Union minister Janeshwar Mishra died on Friday in Allahabad following a heart attack.

He was 77. The funeral will take place in the city in the afternoon on Saturday.

Samajwadi Party (SP) President Mulayam Singh Yadav said: “Janeshwar Mishra (was like a) mentor (to us). He believed in socialism and the policies of Ram Manohar Lohia. His death is a personal loss to me.”

Lohia was a socialist leader in the fifties and the sixties.

Yadav announced the winding up of the festival that was under way at his village, Saifai, in Etawa district.

He was attending the festival as chief guest on Friday afternoon, when the news of Mishra’a death reached him.

Former Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh, who resigned from all party posts recently, took a flight to the city and went to the residence of the departed leader. Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Prada accompanied him.

After paying their last respects, they flew back to Delhi.

Mishra’s last participation in public life was when he led the SP’s statewide movement against the policies of the state government on January 19 in Allahabad.

Popularly known as “chote Lohia” (younger Lohia), Mishra was among the founders of the SP. Before launching the SP, he was associated with the Socialist Party and Samyukta Socialist Party.

Born in Shubhanathahi village, Ballia district, eastern Uttar Pradesh (then known as the United Provinces), on August 5, 1933, Mishra was the first non-Congress member of the Lok Sabha from Phoolpur, from where he won in 1969.

Jawaharlal Nehru had earlier represented Phoolpur in the Lok Sabha.

However, he later contested from the Allahabad constituency, which he represented thrice in the Lok Sabha before being elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1996.

He was elected to the Upper House of Parliament for a third term in 2006.

Mishra was a minister at the Centre under the following Prime Ministers: Morarji Desai (1977-79), Charan Singh (1979-80), V.P. Singh (1989-90), Chandrashekhar (1990-91), Deve Gowda (1996-97) and I.K. Gujral (1997-98).

Under Gujral, he was minister of petroleum and natural gas.

Mishra led mass movements in the service of social justice and the empowerment of the downtrodden. He was imprisoned several times, including during the Emergency in 1975.

With inputs from PTI