IMPHAL, Feb 1: In 1952, he was among the youngest MPs elected to India`s first Lok Sabha. Rishang Keishing, India`s oldest parliamentarian at 94, has now decided to hang up his boots and return to his first love, gardening.
Keishing has told his party, the Congress, that he does not want another nomination to the Rajya Sabha from Manipur. His place in the Upper House will be taken by Abdul Salam who had elected unopposed.
He has served as Manipur chief minister four times, besides stints in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. He admitted that it will be hard to detach himself completely.
“Only my method of working will change but I would like to remain active. I do not even mind taking part in agitations. If there is a protest, if I need to make the voice of my people heard, I will do it,” he says. His decision to stay away from electoral politics is good news for his family, particularly his wife Khatingla, who been through some very difficult times with Keishing, including assassination attempts when he was chief minister. The former school master survived an attack on his convoy in 1985 when four of his escorts were killed and several injured.
“I am happy and I think he should retire fully and get some rest now”, says Khatingla Keishing.