KOLKATA: West Bengal CPM leader and former transport minister Shyamal Chakraborty passed away on Thursday. He was 76.
The former state president of CITU, the party's labour wing, was tested positive for Covid-19 and was on the ventilator since August 3 at a private healthcare unit in Kolkata.
"Today the working class and the left movement in the country has lost an important voice," the CPI(M) said in a tweet.
CPI(M) expresses its deep sadness at the demise of Shyamal Chakraborty. Comrade Shyamal was a veteran trade union leader, former minister and Central Committee member of the CPI(M). Today the working class and the left movement in the country has lost an important voice. pic.twitter.com/FieF0JM5c5— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) August 6, 2020
Expressing her condolence, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, "Saddened at the passing away of veteran leader, former Member of Parliament and former Bengal minister Shyamal Chakraborty. My condolences to his family, friends and supporters."
Chakraborty was admitted to the private hospital since July 30 with symptoms of Covid-19 and he was shifted to the intensive care unit after he developed respiratory problem. "He suffered two massive cardiac arrest around 1 pm and died within 15 minutes," said a doctor.
He is survived by daughter Ushasi Chakraborty, an actor.
Chakraborty, the three-time transport minister of West Bengal from 1982 to 1996 in the Jyoti Basu government, was a member of the CPI(M)'s central committee.
He was a Rajya Sabha MP from 2008 to 2014, and an MLA from 1981 to 1996.
Chakraborty was one of the longest-serving presidents of the CITU's West Bengal unit, from 2003 to 2017.
Baptized into politics in the early '60s, his organisational and oratory skills were first spotted by Communist stalwart Promode Dasgupta.
Dasgupta groomed Chakraborty along with Biman Bose, Anil Biswas, Subhas Chakraborty and Buddhadeb Bhattacharya as the next generation leaders of the party.
CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra and its Legislature Party Leader Sujan Chakraborty condoled the death. "It is a great loss to the trade union movement. He was a mass leader and was respected across the political spectrum," Chakraborty said.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh also offered his condolences.
Senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said Chakraborty was a compassionate leader of the working class. "He was a gentleman, and polite in nature. Condolences to his family members," he said.
Chakraborty is the second notable politician from the state to die after testing positive for Covid-19.
Trinamool Congress MLA Tamonash Ghosh died in June.
On Wednesday, Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation councillor Subhash Bose also died of Covid-19.
(With agency inputs)