Janeshwar Mishra cremated with full state honours

Allahabad: Veteran socialist leader and Samajwadi Party vice-president Janeshwar Mishra, who died of a heart attack, was on Saturday cremated with full state honours in the presence of political leaders cutting across party lines.

Almost all the top brass of Samajwadi Party, including its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, state president Akhilesh Yadav, Leader of the Opposition in the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Shivpal Singh Yadav and national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav were present at the cremation ground situated along the river Ganges in Daraganj locality of the city where Mishra's younger brother Tarkeshwar Mishra lit the funeral pyre.

Uttar Pradesh Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi and vice-president Shekhar Bahuguna also visited the "ghat" to pay homage to the late leader who died at the age of 77.

Railway Board member (Traffic) Vivek Sahay too flew in from Delhi to place a wreath on the former Union Minister's body on behalf of the Ministry of Railways, one of the many portfolios Mishra had held during his four-decade-long political career.

In addition, a large number of local residents too had gathered at the cremation ground to catch the last glimpse of Mishra, who was fondly referred to as "Chhote (junior) Lohia" by politicians and common people alike.

A three-time Rajya Sabha member, Mishra died of a heart attack yesterday afternoon.

A founding member of the Samajwadi Party, Mishra had also got elected to the Lok Sabha four times and held ministerial positions during the Prime Ministerial tenures of Morarji Desai, Chaudhary Charan Singh, V P Singh, Chandrashekhar, H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral.

Meanwhile, Akhilesh Yadav accused the state government of failing to give due respect to the late leader.

"Mishraji was one of those rare leaders who commanded respect cutting across party lines. But the state government does not seem to appreciate that. The arrangements for his funeral have been a huge disappontment," he told reporters here.

Yadav, who had been camping at the late leader's residence since last night, made the remarks at the cremation ground when his comments were sought on the absence of any representative of the state government at the funeral ceremony.

Earlier in the day, state minister for Higher Education Rakesh Dhar Tripathi had visited Mishra's house, where the body was kept.

However, party sources were of the view that the visit was a "personal gesture" from Tripathi, who had himself been a socialist in his early political career and that Yadav was upset over the fact that Mayawati government did not depute any official representative to attend the funeral ceremony.