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Rishang Keishing, Manipur’s grand old leader passes away

He retired from public life in February 2014 as he completed his term as member of the Rajya Sabha.

 
Imphal: 

Rishang Keishing, the grand old man of Manipur, passed away in Imphal on Aug 22. He was the last surviving member of the first Lok Sabha in 1952, chief minister of the state for four terms and the oldest parliamentarian. He was 97.

He retired from public life in February 2014 as he completed his term as member of the Rajya Sabha.

Rishang had not only witnessed the journey of India through seven long decades since Independence, but also became an active player – though on the government side – in Naga politics that had turned increasingly violent through as years passed.

He was born to Rungdi Keishing and Mungshing Keishing of Tangkhul Naga community on October 25, 1920, in Bungpa Khunou village in the present-day Ukhrul district of Manipur. As a student, during 1945-47, he participated in the freedom struggle.

In 1952, Rishang quit his job as high school headmaster to contest the first Lok Sabha elections as a candidate of the Socialist Party. He continued to win the next two Lok Sabha elections in 1957 and 1962 as a Socialist Party candidate, until in 1964, he joined the Congress party at the invitation of Jawaharlal Nehru.

After Manipur became a full-fledged state in 1972, Keishing returned to state politics, and got elected to the state assembly from Phungyar, an assembly segment which he represented for seven terms till 2002. He became chief minister of Manipur for the first time on November 27, 1980, an office which he occupied as many as four times between 1980 and 1997.

In 2002, Keishing was elected to Rajya Sabha from the lone Manipur seat, and was re-elected in 2008, and as he walked out of Parliament House in February 2014, he not only became the oldest member of the House, but also became the only MP from the first Lok Sabha to have remained in Parliament till such a ripe age of 94.

Source: Indian Express

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