Sonia Gandhi’s tribute to late Motilal Vora: ‘You will be greatly missed Vora ji’  

“It was a joke amongst many of my colleagues that when they met Voraji to obtain financial support, he would suddenly pretend to be hard of hearing...” writes the Congress President

 Motilal Vora with Sonia Gandhi  
Motilal Vora with Sonia Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi

You will be missed not only because you were an exceptional human being who was friend, colleague and mentor to so many in the larger Congress family, but as one who drew the loyalty and admiration of people across the political spectrum, across class and creed, caste and community. You will be missed because of your long years of faithful service, your deep experience of public life, your integrity and your rare ability to inspire and work with everybody you came in contact with.

Voraji, as he was called by everybody who knew him, was a stalwart Congressman, a man who especially enriched political life in the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh. He was an active Parliamentarian for so many years, impressing one and all by his sheer stamina and diligence that even advancing age could not dim. I have seen for myself the great respect he commanded across political parties.

Voraji discharged his responsibilities as Treasurer of the Indian National Congress for almost two decades diligently and effectively. He was meticulous with the accounts and ensured smooth functioning of the party office even during challenging times. And he also did so with good humour. It was a joke amongst many of my colleagues that when they met Voraji to obtain financial support for one political activity or another, he would suddenly pretend to be hard of hearing. But as they were leaving, he would remind them of their dues to the party’s accounts!

In recent years he was subject to extraordinary harassment by government agencies and subject to day-long interrogations on completely false and wholly politically-orchestrated charges on matters relating to National Herald. But in spite of his years and at times indifferent health, he confronted these allegations boldly and met his tormentors with his trademark smile. I would get agitated at his ordeal but Vora ji himself always remained calm and collected.

To me personally, Vora ji was more than a Treasurer. He was always a source of sage and wise counsel both on people and on issues. I would consult him on all sorts of matters because I knew very well that he could be relied upon to give me honest, unbiased advice that would remain totally discreet. Because he was so easily accessible to party workers from across the country, he would very often tell me about what he had heard from them which I would always find was very valuable feedback.

What was truly remarkable of Vora ji—and almost unique—was the fact that his zest and energy remained undimmed even as the years passed. His photographic memory remained as sharp as ever till the very end, carrying not only all details of receipts and expenditures in his head, never requiring any notes for support, but also of conversations and events that were long forgotten by everyone else. Till his term ended, he was active in the Rajya Sabha, raising issues of public concern and asking searching questions. When he did so, members applauded him for his unwavering dedication and manifest commitment.

Vora ji, you touched our lives in so many ways. I am sure wherever you and our other departed colleagues are, you still talk about the Congress Party.

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