NEW DELHI: Former Bihar chief minister and long-time Congress leader Jagannath Mishra died here Monday morning. He was having health problems for long and the death occurred at a hospital here at 11am. He was 82. Mishra’s wife died last year, and he is survived by a son, who was previously minister in the Nitish Kumar ministry.
Mishra, a powerful Brahmin leader and a college professor-turned politician, was the last chief minister of the Congress party in Bihar. He had also functioned as a Union minister. Mishra had been convicted for years’ jail in cattle feed scam in which ex-Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad had also been convicted and jailed. However, a Ranchi court came to Mishra’s aid and declared that he was not guilty.
He was chief minister during the 1975-77 period, 1980-83 period, 1989-90 period, but could not complete a full term due to political and other uncertainties. Mishra was a pick of Indira Gandhi for the CM post at a time when the Congress held supreme in the country and Brahmins held leadership positions under Congress dispensations. The scenario changed with the emergence of the Jaiprakash Narayan movement for Total Change, and new leaders of the Socialist and Backward Community backgrounds emerged.
With Congress fortunes on the downslide in Bihar since the 1980s, Mishra left the party and sided with Sharad Pawar in the Nationalist Congress Party, and then with Nitish Kumar’s JDU. IHN-NN
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