Between cups of lemon tea, veteran Congress leader Motilal Vora, who passed away on Monday, kept a hawk-eye watch on the affairs of the grand old party.
Vora, a former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and former Uttar Pradesh Governor, breathed his last at a private hospital in New Delhi, a day after he turned 93.
Vora, who had recovered from Covid-19, was admitted to the hospital for treatment of urinary infection. He had been on ventilator support after developing a severe lung infection. The last rites would be held in Chhattisgarh, where he stayed most of his life.
The nonagenarian leader had been a regular at the AICC headquarters, which wore a deserted look since the Congress electoral defeat in 2014, giving a patient hearing to everyone who cared to drop by – from chief ministers of party-ruled states to the ordinary worker.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh described Vora as “evergreen and ever-active” and one of the most decent of men who left his mark in public life in MP, Chhattisgarh, UP and in Parliament.
Vora held the purse strings of the Congress for 18 years as the AICC Treasurer, a post he relinquished in 2018 before being appointed as the AICC General Secretary (Administration).
A staunch Gandhi family loyalist, Vora also was the Managing Director of the Associated Journals Limited – the publishers of the National Herald, Navjivan, and Quami Awaz newspapers in English, Hindi and Urdu respectively.
Born on December 20, 1927 in Nimbi Jodha in the erstwhile Jodhpur state, Vora worked as a journalist before making a foray into politics – the first stop being the Socialist Party and later the Congress.
He started his political innings as an MLA in 1972 and remained a member of the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly till 1992. He was the chief minister of the state from 1985 to 1988 and elected to the office again in 1989. He was a four-term Rajya Sabha member and elected to the Lok Sabha in 1998.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several political leaders including former Congress president Rahul Gandhi paid tributes to the departed leader.
“Sad to hear that veteran Congress leader Shri Motilal Vora is no more. He was humility personified and belonged to a generation of leaders who carried their politics with unflinching conviction till end. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends,” the President said.