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Veteran CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta dead, Prez, PM mourn (3rd Lead)
Kolkata, Oct 31 - Veteran communist leader and trade unionist Gurudas Dasgupta, considered a very capable parliamentarian, died at his south Kolkata residence on Thursday after a long battle with cancer. He was 82.
Dasgupta, Deputy General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), passed away at 6 a.m. leaving behind his wife, a daughter and a granddaughter, family sources said.
"He was admitted to Tata Medical Centre, where he was on ventilation also for some time. On Monday he was released from the hospital and brought home," party state Secretary, Swapan Banerjee, told IANS.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying homage to Dasgupta - a three-term Rajya Sabha member, who was also elected to the Lok Sabha twice --from Panskura in 2004 and Ghatal in 2009.
He began his long parliamentary career following his election to the Upper House of Parliament in 1985, and made his mark with his erudition, fearless and articulate oratory, speaking out with a crusader's zeal against corruption, capitalism and what he always termed as the "neo-imperialist policies".
He was twice re-elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1988 and 1994.
Dasgupta lost the bypoll to the Panskura Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal in 2000, but won the seat in the general elections four years later as a Left Front-backed candidate.
Dasgupta was one of those parliamentarians who repeatedly highlighted the Bofors scandal that came into the public domain in the late 1980s during the prime ministerial stint of Rajiv Gandhi. He also served on the joint parliamentary committees formed to probe the securities scam and the 2G spectrum scandal.
One of the tallest leaders of the Indian trade union movement, Dasgupta served the All India Trade Union Congress in various capacities including its General Secretary and Vice President.
"He was one of those leaders who successfully brought all trade unions under a common platform in the interest of the workers. The strong joint trade union movements that we see nowadays is the result of that effort," said Banerjee.
Kovind in his message expressed sadness over Dasgupta's demise and said he had a aforceful presence in the House.
"A big loss for public life in Bengal and India. Condolences to his family, colleagues and well-wishers," the President said.
Modi described Dasgupta as one of the "most committed and articulate proponents of his ideology".
"He was a strong voice in Parliament, whose interventions were keenly heard across the political spectrum. Saddened by his passing away. May his soul rest in peace," Modi said on Twitter.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Dasgupta will be remembered for his contribution to the nation as a Parliamentarian and trade union leader.
Dasgupta's body has been kept in a South Kolkata mortuary, from where it will be taken on Friday morning to his residence, AITUC state headquarters and the CPI state committee headquarters before the last rites are performed at the Keoratala crematorium.
Born on November 3, 1936, in Barishal (now in Bangladesh) of undivided Bengal, Dasgupta was baptised into politics through the student movement, and served as the President and General Secretary of the undivided Bengal Provincial Students' Federation between 1958 and 1960.
He became a Communist Party of India member in 1952 and was detained under Defence of India Rules in 1965 and went underground on several occasions during the Congress rule in West Bengal.
He visited various countries including Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, South Africa, the UK and erstwhile Soviet Union.
A prolific writer, Dasgupta was a regular contributor to several Bengali and English newspapers.
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