Senior NCP leader D P Tripathi passes away

Tripathi, the general secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party and a former students' union leader, was battling cancer

In this July 2016 file photo, senior NCP leader & former MP, DP Tripathi at Parliament house in New Delhi. Tripathi passed away on Thursday, Jan. 2 , 2020 after a prolonged period of illness. (PTI Photo)

Senior NCP leader and former Rajya Sabha member Devi Prasad Tripathi breathed his last after a prolonged illness here on Thursday. He was 67.

Born on November 29, 1952, in a village in Uttar Pradesh's Sultanpur district, Tripathi emerged as a public figure during his days at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and as the President of its Student's Union during the Emergency years.

Years later, he joined the Congress and worked closely with Rajiv Gandhi during his stint as AICC General Secretary and later as the Prime Minister.

Tripathi emerged a hero of the anti-Emergency movement, evading arrest for months and spending days in locations like a washermen's colony – tales he would recount with relish later.

It was during his student years at JNU he forged lasting friendships with Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar among others. After his arrest in November 1975, his stint in Tihar Jail brought him closer to leaders such as Arun Jaitley and others in the BJP.

Tripathi walked out of the Congress in 1999 when Sharad Pawar split the party to form the Nationalist Congress Party and was the party's chief spokesman and General Secretary till he breathed his last on Thursday morning.

He was also associated with the struggle for democracy in Nepal for several decades and shared a personal relationship with many political, social and cultural leaders of the Himalayan nation. Tripathi's proximity with the Nepali Congress leadership and Yechury's influence on the Maoists played a key role in Nepal's transition from a Parliamentary monarchy to a multi-party democracy.

Tripathi's contribution to the Nepali cause was acknowledged by the nations Parliament when he along with Yechury was invited for the its meeting in April 2006.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar remembered Tripathi as a scholar, and a perfect blend of diligence and intelligence in politics.

Jaishankar fondly recalled his association with Tripathi dating back to 1973 when he had joined the JNU. “Since 1973, when we joined JNU, have discussed and debated the world with him. Always open-minded and pragmatic. Will miss him very much,” he said.

Yechury remembered Tripathi as a "comrade, fellow-student, fellow-traveller and a friend".

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