Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader from West Bengal, Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, was pronounced dead on Monday after lying in coma for a decade in a private hospital in the capital. Following a stroke in 2008, a clot in his brain had rendered him fully paralyzed and unable to speak.
The best medical treatment, including for months in a German hospital, all paid for, of course, by the taxpayers, proved of no help. He was returned to the private hospital in Delhi where he lay on life-support until he breathed his last on Monday. A former Indian Youth Congress President, Dasmunshi took the yet-unknown Mamata Banerjee under his wings, showing her the political ropes.
Years later, the two would go their separate ways, with Banjerjee forming her own party and pushing the Congress in West Bengal to a poor third place, behind the leftists. Following the stroke, his wife Deepa Dasmunshi successfully contested from his parliamentary seat, Raiganj, and was made a minister in the UPA government.
As the head of the Indian Football Association, Dasmunshi sought to popularize the sport, but, it is only in the last couple of years, thanks to the beaming of European leagues matches in real time via satellite TV that football seems to be gaining some traction here. A Congress Party on the decline in West Bengal could do with leaders like Dasmunshi, who in their day, had aggressively expanded the party footprint in the State.