Senior Congress leader and the party’s Rae Bareli district unit chief Uma Shankar Mishra passed away early Monday morning at the age of 93.
Mishra, who was the Congress’s longest and oldest serving district president, died at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Lucknow, where he was admitted Sunday night following complaints of chest pain.
Congress chief and local MP Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra rushed to Rae Bareli to pay tributes to Mishra whose body was taken to Tilak Bhawan, the party office in Rae Bareli city.
Mishra, who had worked with Gandhi family in Rae Bareli for seven decades, right from when Firoze Gandhi first contested the elections in 1951, had flagged off Congress’s “Padyatra” at Jagatpur block in the district just two days ago.
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Sources said Priyanka was informed about Mishra’s death by his son over phone.“She (Priyanka) told the family members that she wanted to pay tributes to Mishra, who was popularly known as ‘Adhyaksh ji’ in Rae Bareli, before the last rites were performed. Her programme was finalised around 11 am and she reached Tilak Bhawan at 3:45 pm,” said a party leader in Rae Bareli.
“Even at this age, Adhyaksh ji did not have any major ailments and used to guide us. His passing away is a major loss to the Congress family. Priyanka ji expressed her desire to see him before the last rites and thus rushed to Rae Bareli immediately after getting the news,” said Vinay Dwivedi, spokesperson, Rae Bareli Congress committee.
Priyanka told Mishra’s family members how ‘Adhyaksh ji’ used to scold her while teaching her nuances of politics. She also talked about the long association that Mishra had with the Gandhi family.
Mishra was said to have convinced Indira Gandhi and later Sonia Gandhi to contest from Rae Bareli.
Since the days of Indira Gandhi, Mishra has been a powerful leader in the district and used to lead campaign for Gandhi family members. Having served as district panchayat chairman for 32 years, Mishra was made Congress district president of Rae Bareli in 1999 and had been serving on the post since then. Sources informed that the party unit was “clearly told” that he would serve on the post till his last breath.
Having served as an activist during freedom struggle, Mishra is said to have played a significant role during the first election post-independence in 1951, when Indira Gandhi’s husband Firoze contested from Rae Bareli. Later in 1967, sources informed, it was Mishra, who convinced Indira to choose Rae Bareli as her constituency from where she contested three elections.
Again in 2004, it was Mishra who strongly advocated and convinced Sonia to choose Rae Bareli as her constituency.Being organisational incharge of Rae Bareli, Priyanka was a regular visitor to his house during election campaigns and sources informed that Mishra would speak his mind before Sonia even during public meetings.
A resident of Sultanpur Kheda village under Sataon development block, Misra’s last rites were performed at Dalmau ghat in the presence of Sonia’s representative Kishori Lal Sharma.