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Indira Hridayesh was one of the most popular faces of the Congress in undivided Uttar Pradesh and later in Uttarakhand, and her passing with only a few months to go for elections in the hill state is a setback to the party.

Hridayesh, who was leader of opposition in the state assembly, passed away at the Uttarakhand Sadan in New Delhi on Sunday following a cardiac arrest.

She remained in the party through its many upheavals and was considered a tall strategist. She was the go-to person for the party for all issues relating to parliamentary affairs.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted their condolence messages.

“Dr. Indira Hridayesh Ji was at the forefront of several community service efforts. She made a mark as an effective legislator and also had rich administrative experience,” the prime minister said in a tweet.

Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi, “She worked till the end for public service and the Congress family. Her social and political contributions are an inspiration.”

Born on April 7, 1941, she first entered the legislative council of undivided UP in 1974. She was elected to the UP legislative council for four terms.

After the creation of Uttarakhand, she became an interim member of the Uttarakhand legislative assembly in 2000. She was elected to the Uttarakhand assembly from Haldwani in 2002 and became a minister in the Narayan Dutt Tewari government. She was elected to the Uttarakhand assembly in 2012 and 2017 too and was a minister in the governments headed by Vijay Bahuguna and Harish Rawat.

Hridayesh was active in politics till her last breath. She had participated in a meeting of her party leaders in Delhi on Saturday and discussed strategies for improving her party’s performance in the 2022 assembly polls.

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