Called ‘Babuji’, Motilal Vora was considered as a people's man and was accessible to all.
Endearing, loyal and devoted to his work, Motilal Vora was the last of the Gandhian leaders in the Congress and a long-time confidant of the party’s first family. Vora, who sailed through the turbulence of state and national politics for nearly five decades with his affable personality and unflinching commitment, died at the age of 92 on Monday following post-COVID-19 complications.
Called “Babuji”, the former chief minister of undivided Madhya Pradesh and former Governor of Uttar Pradesh in the post-Babri Masjid demolition era was considered as a people’s man and was accessible to all. Old-timers say he was one of the leaders who would make it a point to sit in the AICC office everyday during his various roles in the party — last as the AICC general secretary (administration). He remained a staunch Gandhi family loyalist and was a trusted lieutenant of Congress president Sonia Gandhi till the end.
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Vora was also a long-time AICC treasurer, occupying the position for almost two decades till 2018. He was also the chairman of Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and later a director in the Young Indian, associated with the National Herald. He, along with Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others, is an accused in the National Herald corruption case which is pending before a Delhi court. With Vora, Sonia Gandhi, who is battling dissents within the party, has lost two of her trusted lieutenants in the last few days.
Senior Congress leader and the party’s top strategist, Ahmed Patel died at a Gurgaon hospital on November 25 due to multi-organ failure. Being helpful and accessible, he was considered as a people’s man as his public connect was good. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as a senior-most Congress leader, who had vast administrative and organisational experience, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said his life is a shining example of public service and unparalleled commitment to the Congress ideology.
Vora was born in Nagaur in Rajasthan in 1928, but spent most of his active life in now Chhattisgarh. He was a six-term MLA of undivided Madhya Pradesh assembly. He had served as a Rajya Sabha member four times and as a Lok Sabha member once. Incidently, his Lok Sabha tenure came after his Governorship.
He also served as the president of the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee in 1980s. Considered the last of the Gandhians in the grand old party, Vora was a socialist leader who was initially in the Samajwadi party. He started his political career as a member of the Municipal Committee of Durg (then part of Madhya Pradesh) in 1968 and later joined the Congress. He was first elected to the MP Assembly in 1972 on a Congress ticket and became a minister of state in Arjun Singh’s Cabinet.
He was elevated as Cabinet Minister in 1983. He also served as the Deputy Chairman of Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation during 1981-84. In March 1985, Vora was appointed Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh by Rajiv Gandhi.
He resigned from the post of Chief Minister in February 1988 to join the Union Government. He against became chief minister of the state in January 1989. He was also Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare from 1988 and held the charge of the Ministry of Civil Aviation as well. He leaves behind his wife, two sons and four daughters.