Manipur governor Syed Ahmed dies in Mumbai

Mumbai: Manipur Governor Syed Ahmed passed away following a brief illness here on Sunday morning, a family member said. He was 70.

Syed Ahmed is survived by his wife Syed Hasan Tara, two daughters and a son.

He passed away at the Lilavati Hospital in Bandra, where he was admitted for treatment of cancer last week, said his son Syed Zeeshan Ahmed.

A former Congress leader and Maharashtra minister, Syed Ahmed was sworn-in as governor of the northeastern state of Manipur on May 16 this year. Prior to that, he was governor of Jharkhand since September 2011.

Syed Ahmed was elected to the Maharashtra legislative assembly five times on Congress tickets from the Nagpada constituency in south Mumbai and later served as a minister in two governments, handling various portfolios.

His funeral will be held on Monday at 11 a.m. at the Rehmatabad Cemetery in Byculla, said son Zeeshan Ahmed, who is a prominent state Congress leader.

In a condolence message to Ahmed's wife Syed Hasan Tara, President Pranab Mukherjee said: "I am sad to learn about the passing away of Dr. Syed Ahmed. He served the nation with distinction in different capacities during his public life."

President Mukherjee said Ahmed's services to the nation as the governor of Jharkhand and Manipur would always be remembered.

"I pray to the almighty to give you and other members of the family strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss," he said.

Vice President Hamid Ansari in a message said Syed Ahmed was "a leading figure of Maharashtra's political firmament and his departure leaves a large void".

"A humanist, he was dedicated to working for the uplift of the weakest sections of the society. In his capacity as the minister for housing, slum improvement, house repairs and reconstructions in the state government, he worked to address the issues facing the homeless and the slum dwellers in Maharashtra," he said.

The vice president also said Ahmed had a special role in the advancement and welfare of minorities in India, particularly in Maharashtra.

"He was also a scholar, having written on topics as diverse as revolutionary poetry to the role of Muslims in India's freedom struggle," he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the death, saying Syed Ahmed was "an experienced leader who held many positions in his long political career. Saddened by his demise. Rest in Peace".

Expressing grief over Ahmed's demise, Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao described Ahmed as "a gentle, soft spoken and studious person".

"Dr. Ahmed had sincere urge to address the problems of the common man. He was a writer and poet too. I convey my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family," Rao said in a condolence message.

Senior leaders of Maharashtra including state Congress president Ashok Chavan, Leader of Opposition in the assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, ex-union minister Gurudas Kamat and the Mumbai Congress condoled Ahmed's death.

Besides politics, Ahmed was an academician and litterateur with masters degrees in Hindi and English and a PhD in Urdu.

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