New Delhi: Veteran Congress leader Motilal Vora, a staunch Gandhi family loyalist who had a political career spanning almost five decades, died at a hospital here on Monday following post-COVID-19 complications, his family said. He was 92.
Vora was admitted to the Escorts Hospital in Okhla here a few days ago with a urinary infection. He developed a severe lung infection and was put on ventilator support, his family said.
He completed 92 years on Sunday, they said.
His last rites will be conducted on Tuesday in Durg in Chhattisgarh, where he stayed most of his life.
Vora, a two-time former chief minister of undivided Madhya Pradesh and also a former governor of Uttar Pradesh, had served as a Rajya Sabha member four times and as a Lok Sabha member once.
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 was elected to the office again in 1989.
He remained active in the Congress till earlier this year. He was the party’s treasurer for a long time and last held the position of AICC general secretary (administration).
President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several political leaders including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi paid glowing 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 carry their politics with unflinching conviction till end. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends,” President Kovind tweeted.
Naidu, who is also the Rajya Sabha chairman, said he was deeply saddened to learn about Vora’s demise who commanded great respect and love across the political spectrum.
“When I came to Rajya Sabha in 2014, I used to listen to his speeches and watch his behaviour in the House closely. For me he had the qualities of an ideal Member of Parliament.
“His dedication, loyalty and contribution to his party is recognised by all. His work against malnutrition in children, especially in Chhattisgarh, has now started giving good results,” he said.
“In Vora ji’s demise, the country has lost an honest, simple and committed leader. It is an irreplaceable loss not only to the Congress party but also to the country,” the vice president said.
PM Modi said he was saddened by the demise of the Congress veteran.
“Shri Motilal Vora Ji was among the senior-most Congress leaders, who had vast administrative and organizational experience in a political career that spanned decades. Saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and well-wishers. Om Shanti,” the PM said in a tweet.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah also took to Twitter to express their condolences.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh said Vora was a true Congress leader with a lot of administrative and political experience.
“In his death our country has lost a veteran Congress leader and an excellent administrator. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family,” Singh said in a letter to Vora’s son.
In her condolence message, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said, “Shri Motilal Vora’s demise has left a huge void that would be difficult to fill. His life is a shining example of public service and unparalleled commitment to the Congress ideology. We will always miss his guidance and his selfless service.”
Vora’s death comes weeks after the demise of Ahmed Patel, another trusted aide of Sonia Gandhi. Senior Congress leader and the party’s top strategist, Patel died at a Gurgaon hospital on November 25 due to multi-organ failure.
Condoling Vora’s demise, Rahul Gandhi said, “Vora ji was a true congressman and a wonderful human being. We will miss him very much. My love and condolences to his family and friends.”
Senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said every Congress leader and worker is feeling personally pained by Vora’s death.
“Vora ji was a symbol of loyalty, dedication and patience towards the ideology of Congress,” she said.
Priyanka Gandhi also said Vora was present at every party meeting even at the age of 92 and expressed his views openly on every issue.
“Today, while bidding him goodbye I feel sad that an elder member of the family has left us. We will all miss him very much,” she added.
Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “A giant is no more. Sh Moti Lal Vora was the epitome of commitment, dedication and loyalty. He inspired an entire generation with his untiring attitude and capacity to brave every adversity. My heartfelt homage.”
The Congress party also tweeted through its official handle, “We offer our heartfelt condolences on the sad demise of stalwart Congress leader, former Union Cabinet Minister and former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Motilal Vora. Congress has lost a guiding light. May his soul rest in peace.”