Thousands of people came out on the streets of Allahabad to pay their homage to veteran socialist and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Janeshwar Mishra, who died here Friday after a prolonged illness.
Mishra’s last journey from his Beli Road residence to the cremation site on the banks of Sangam – the holy confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythological Saraswati rivers – took hours as the funeral procession marched through the city’s main thoroughfare and through the Allahabad University campus where Mishra had spent his student days.
His body was also taken to the statue of his political mentor, ideologue and prominent socialist Ram Manohar Lohia.
Prominent among those who attending the funeral were SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, his younger brother and leader of the opposition in the state assembly Shivpal Yadav, Mulayam’s son and state unit chief Akhilesh Yadav, former state assembly speaker and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Keshri Nath Tripathi and state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi. No leader from the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), however, was present.
Disgruntled SP leader Amar Singh and his protege, film actress-turned-MP Jaya Prada had flown in here Friday and visited Mishra’s residence to pay their last respects.
Two prominent leaders from Bihar – Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had conveyed their intention to join the funeral, did not turn up. Both had worked in close association with Mishra during the Janata Party days in the late 1970s.
Uttar Pradesh Governor B.L. Joshi, Chief Minister Mayawati and leaders of various political parties had condoled the death of Mishra.
Mishra, 77, died of cardiac arrest at the T.B. Sapru hospital in Allahabad, some 200 km from Lucknow. He is survived by his two daughters – Shanti and Meena.
A close associate of Mulayam Singh, he was among the founders of the party. He was a central minister both in the 1977-79 Janata Party government and in the Janata Dal government of 1989-90.
He was among the few Samajwadi Party leaders who had worked with Lohia and was often referred to as "chhote Lohia".