Rishang Keishing, member of first Lok Sabha and Manipur’s ex-CM, dies at 96
Rishang Keishing, former chief minister of Manipur and a member of the first Lok Sabha, died on Tuesday at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences hospital in Manipur’s capital Imphal, hospital officials said. He was 96.
Keishing died following multi-organ failure around 8.15pm. He was unwell for some time and was in hospital since July 1 this year.
The Congress leader is survived by his wife, three sons and two daughters.
Manipur has announced three days of mourning. All state government offices and educational institutions will remain closed on Wednesday as a mark of respect to the departed leader.
Born on October 25, 1920 in Bungpa village in Manipur’s Ukhrul district, Keishing contested the assembly election for the first time from his home constituency Phungyar in 1972.
He won the seat seven times and became the state’s longest-serving chief minister. Keishing served as chief minister of Manipur from 1980 to 1988 and from 1994 to 1997.
A freedom fighter and a member of India’s first Lok Sabha (1952-57), he became the country’s oldest parliamentarian at the age of 87.
Though he made way for his son Victor Keishing to reclaim his constituency after he lost in the 2002 assembly polls, he represented Manipur in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament, and retired as its oldest member on April 9, 2014 after serving two terms since being elected in 2002.
In Delhi, home minister Rajnath Singh condoled his demise, and described him as a “towering leader” from Manipur who believed in humanity, social harmony and clean politics.
“I am pained by his demise, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family of Shri Keishing. My thoughts are with his family in this hour of grief,” he tweeted.
Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju also expressed grief. In a Twitter post, Rijiju said that despite being 96 years old, Keishing “remained so fit till date”.
Manipur governor Najma Heptulla and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi also mourned Keishing’s demise.
“Ex CM & Parliamentarian Rishang Keishingji was a true Congressman & one of the tallest leaders of North East.Very sad to know of his passing (sic),” said a post on Gandhi’s official Twitter handle.
(With agency inputs)