09 - 08 - 2020

West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra dies, cremation today; leaders pay tribute

KOLKATA, JULY 30,202:West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra died of kidney and heart ailments at a private hospital in the early hours of Thursday.

Mitra was 78 and is survived by his son Rohan Mitra, state youth Congress leader, and wife Sikha Mitra, a former legislator.

“Saddened to hear about the passing away of veteran leader, former MP and West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra. My deepest condolences to his family, followers and well-wishers,” tweeted chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

Mitra was admitted to the hospital a week ago and underwent dialysis twice. He will be cremated later in the day, said members of the family.

“All my love and support to family and friends of Somen Mitra at this difficult time. We will remember him with love, fondness and respect,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi.

Mitra was elected legislator from the Sealdah constituency in central Kolkata seven times. He was also elected to the Lok Sabha as a Trinamool Congress candidate in 2009 when he left the Congress for a few years only to return to the party again.

Mitra was state Congress president twice. During his first stint between 1992 and 1998, Mamata Banerjee left the party and formed the Trinamool Congress, alleging that Congress had become a weak Opposition against the Left Front government.

Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha and former president of the party’s West Bengal unit Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said he has lost a guardian. “I started my career under his leadership. He helped me become a people’s representative for the first time.”

BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “Mitra was the face of the old political culture that was marked by decency and courtesy.”

CPI(M) politburo member and former Lok Sabha MP Md Salim said, “Mitra was one of those old timers who stayed in touch with people and knew individuals by their names and faces. He knew constituencies like the palm of his hand.”