Imphal: Former Manipur chief minister and a member of the first Lok Sabha Rishang Keishing passed away today following brief illness here.
The veteran Congress leader was 96.
Keishing, a Naga, served as the chief minister of Manipur from 1980 to 1988 and from 1994 to 1997.
He passed away around 8.15 pm due to multiple organ failure, doctors attending him at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) said.
He was hospitalised on July 1 after his health condition worsened.
He is survived by two sons and four daughters.
Keishing, who was born on November 25, 1921, in Bungpa village in Ukhrul district, was elected to the Lok Sabha on a Socialist Party ticket in the first parliamentary elections held in 1951-52. He had also represented Manipur in Rajya Sabha.
He went on to lose his seat in the 1957 only to win again in the 1962 general elections. In 1964, he joined the Congress and lost the 1967 election to an independent candidate.
Keishing was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Manipur in 2008, but called it quits from active politics when his term ended in 2014. He was 94 at the time.
In Delhi, home minister Rajnath Singh condoled the death of Keishing, describing 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 [his] bereaved family… My thoughts are with [them] in this hour of grief,” he tweeted.
Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju also expressed grief. In a Twitter post, Rijiju remarked that despite being 96-year-old, Keishing “remained so fit till date” (sic).
The Manipur government has declared that all government offices and educational institutions will be closed tomorrow as a mark of respect to Keishing.
Manipur gcovernor Najma Heptulla expressed her sadness and condoled the demise of Keishing.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi also mourned Keishing’s demise.
“Ex CM & parliamentarian Rishang Keishingji was a true Congressman and one of the tallest leaders of North East. Very sad to know of his passing ,” said a post on Gandhi’s official Twitter handle.