GUWAHATI: Rishang Keishing, the last surviving member of India’s first Lok Sabha (1952-57), died on Tuesday evening. He was 97 years old. Keishing was suffering from kidney ailments and was admitted to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Manipur capital Imphal, about a month ago.
“He died at 8:25 pm today at RIMS. He has been suffering from kidney-related ailments for the past one year,” a family friend told the New Indian Express.
Keishing died of multiple organ failures, doctors said. The Congress patriarch had served as the Manipur chief minister four times, from 1980 to 1988 and from 1994 to 1997, besides stints at the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. In 2014, he retired as the world’s oldest serving parliamentarian when his term in Rajya Sabha ended.
Born to Rungdi Keishing and Mungshingla Keishing in Bungpa Khunou of Manipur’s Ukhrul district, Keishing participated in India’s freedom struggle. In 1985, while serving as the chief minister, he survived an attack on his convoy from the insurgents in which four of his escorts were killed and several injured.
Condoling his death, chief minister N Biren Singh said Keishing’s contribution to Manipur’s progress will always be remembered.
The Manipur government has declared three days of mourning in the state. “Rishang Keishing was a people’s man and a pragmatic leader. As a mark of respect, a three-day state mourning will be observed,” Biren Singh said. He is survived by wife, three sons and two daughters.