Former Congress leader and three-time Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra has breathed his last after a prolonged illness on Monday morning in Delhi. He was 82. Mishra had been suffering from cancer along with other medical ailments and was undergoing treatment at a Delhi hospital. He is survived by his son Nitish Mishra who was also a minister in Bihar government. Mishra's wife Veena Devi died of resipiratory complications at Medanta hospital in January last year.
The sudden demise of Mishra has sent shockwaves in the political corridor of Bihar with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressing his grief and declaring a three-day mourning in the state. The veteran leader will be cremated with full-state honours later in the day.
"Jagannath Mishra was a famous leader and educationalist. He made an invaluable contribution to the politics of Bihar and India. His death is an irreparable loss in the field of politics, society and education," Kumar said in a statement.
Bihar former Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra has passed away in Delhi after prolonged illness. pic.twitter.com/zyDlVD4HBP— ANI (@ANI) August 19, 2019
Taking to its official handle, the Congress tweeted, "Our deepest condolences to the family of Shri Jagannath Mishra. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this time of grief. Former CM of Bihar and a leader of the people, he served the nation with dedication and honour".
Our deepest condolences to the family of Shri Jagannath Mishra. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this time of grief.— Congress (@INCIndia) August 19, 2019
Former CM of Bihar & a leader of the people, he served the nation with dedication & honour. pic.twitter.com/bafA38lIJR
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also condoled Mishra's death, saying "My heartfelt condolences at the passing away of former CM of Bihar, Shri Jagannath Mishra. He was a mass leader and served the people with utmost dedication. My thoughts and prayers are with his family... May his soul rest in peace".
My heartfelt condolences at the passing away of former CM of #Bihar, Shri #JagannathMishra. He was a mass leader and served the people with utmost dedication. My thoughts and prayers are with his family... May his soul rest in peace— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) August 19, 2019
"As a three time Congress Chief Minister of Bihar, Union Cabinet Minister and PCC President on many occasions, Dr Mishra always stood for the interests of the deprived and the marginalised minorities in society. He will be remembered for a long time to come," Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi said.
Governor Phagu Chauhan remembered his contributions as chief minister of the undivided Bihar.
Mishra was first appointed as Bihar chief minister in 1975 and continued till 1977. He returned to the office for three years between 1980 and 1983. In 1989, Mishra was chosen as the Bihar CM for one last time before being succeded by RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in 1990.
A teacher by profession, the senior leader also served as a Union minister under a Congress dispensation and later quit the grand old party to join the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and then Janata Dal United (JDU). Currently, he was a Bharatiya Jan Congress.
Being touted as one of the most powerful Congress leaders in Bihar, Mishra is known for his role in successful passage of Bihar Press Bill, banning the publication, sale and possession of any printed matter that was "scurrilous" or "grossly indecent" or "intended for blackmail. He was also an active part of Saint Vinoda Bhave's Bhoodan Movement between 1953 and 1960.
Moving on to his teaching career, Mishra worked as an Economics professor at University of Bihar and wrote about 40 research papers while pursuing PhD. Mishra suffered a significant taint to his repute after a CBI court in 2013 convicted him along with 44 others in a fodder scam case. However, he was acquitted from the controversial case in 2018.