AJL and National Herald Group mourn the death of Motilal Vora

Motilal Vora (1927-2020) as chairman of Associated Journals Ltd. had led the revival of the National Herald Group of publications and their transition to the digital platform

AJL and National Herald Group mourn the death of Motilal Vora

Zafar Agha

It is difficult to believe that Moti Lal Vora is no longer with us. Barely a fortnight ago I had received a phone call from his office with the message that Vora ji wished to see me the next day. I reached his house at the appointed hour and was promptly ushered into his room. He had recently recovered from COVID-19 but looked quite healthy for his age on that day.

He made me sit close to his chair and immediately started chatting about Ahmed Patel. He spoke for a long time and recalled several anecdotes. There was little to indicate he would leave us so soon.

“You know, Ahmed bhai has left me alone. I can’t believe that he is gone”. He told me that when he came back from the hospital Ahmed Patel was the first to drop in to enquire about his wellbeing. Vora ji kept talking about his decades-old close relationship with Ahmed bhai. He repeatedly complained that Ahmed’s death had left him feeling terribly lonely. Who could have guessed at that time that he would leave us so soon to be in Ahmed bhai’s company.

Three Congress stalwarts have died one after the other in quick succession in little over a month’s time. Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was the first to pass away. He was soon followed by Ahmed Patel. And now Vora ji is also no more. All three were tall leaders of the Congress in their own right.

Vora ji occupied the two most important constitutional offices, that of the chief minister and governor, of two large and important states of the country, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. He was appointed the Madhya Pradesh chief minister by Rajiv Gandhi in 1985 and remained in office till 1989 with a short break. Narasimha Rao sent him to Uttar Pradesh in 1993 as Governor and when the state slipped under Governor’s Rule, he took charge of the state till 1996.

A journalist by profession, he worked with Navbharat Times as its correspondent in Bombay (now Mumbai), then served with Navbharat in Nagpur and Raipur and later with Nagpur Times in Nagpur.

Having held one of the most important organisational post of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) treasurer for nearly two decades, Vora was appointed as the general secretary in charge of administration in 2018. He was a close lieutenant of Congress President Sonia Gandhi under whose leadership he served the Congress well. He was a Gandhi family loyalist till the last.

Vora ji passed away just a day after his 93rd birthday. But he remained active in the service of the party till the last. His simplicity attracted one and all towards him. His office doors at the party headquarter were always open for everyone and he would give them a patient hearing and do everything to find a solution if needed.

We had a special bonding with Vora ji who was the chairman of Associated Journals Ltd, the company that owns the National Herald group of papers and digital properties. It was under his stewardship that National Herald and its Hindi sister publication NavJivan resumed publication in their new avatar as a weekly Sunday broadsheets. He also led the AJL’s transition to digital platform with nationalheraldindia.com, Navjivan.com and Qaumiawaz.com news portals in English, Hindi and Urdu respectively.

The entire editorial and managing staff of the AJL group deeply mourn the sad demise of the chairman who led from the front in reviving the Group’s activities in trying times and against heavy odds.

RIP Vora ji. We will miss you.

(The author is the Editor-in-Chief of the National Herald Group of publications)

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Published: 21 Dec 2020, 7:35 PM