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Veteran Cong leader dead

india Updated: Jan 30, 2010 00:45 IST
Urvashi Dev Rawal

Senior Congress leader and parliamentarian Ram Niwas Mirdha passed away in Delhi on Friday after a brief illness. He was 85.

Mirdha, survived by two sons and a daughter, was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital on January 21 with a kidney infection and died of a multi-organ failure.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a condolence message to Mirdha’s family: “He had a distinguished legislative career both in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly as well as in Parliament… Shri Mirdha was also a man of letters…”

The Rajasthan government announced a one-day mourning and said Mirdha’s cremation would take place with full state honours at Kuchera, his native village in Nagaur district, on Saturday.

Mirdha was born on August 24, 1924. His father, Baldev Ram Mirdha, was a freedom fighter. Ram Niwas also participated in the freedom movement.

Rajasthan Congress leader Chandrabhan said, “He did a lot for the development of the farming community. He also contributed a lot to the cooperative sector.”

Educated at the universities of Allahabad and Lucknow, Mirdha later went to the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

He became the Rajasthan assembly speaker in 1957 four years after being elected to the assembly for the first time.

He held several central portfolios, such as home affairs, defence production, external affairs and textiles. He was also deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha in 1967 and represented Barmer in the 10th Lok Sabha.