COVID-19 claimed the life of 76-year-old senior CPI (M) leader Shyamal Chakraborty, who died around 1.50 pm in a private hospital in Kolkata on Thursday.
Chakraborty had tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted in Peerless hospital on July 31. He was put on ventilator thereafter on August 1.
Chakraborty started his political journey as a student in the early 1960s and was elected General Secretary of the student’s union at the Vidyasagar College, Kolkata.
As one of the senior Trade Union leader in West Bengal, Chakraborty also served as a state president of CITU, the trade union arm of CPI (M).
Chakraborty joined the undivided Communist Party in 1960 and was elected to the West Bengal Legislative assembly for the first time in 1981 and later on for three more terms. He served as Minister for Transport for nine years. He was also elected to the Rajya Sabha for a term.
"We are feeling really bad at his demise. He was a people's leader from the CPI-M. Throughout his life he represented the working class. He was an honest politician. We had different political ideologies but that never impacted our personal equations. He was always very cordial with his opposition party colleagues," said Trinamool Congress' secretary general and West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee, conveying his deepest condolences to the deceased's family.
Senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan said: "It is a great loss to West Bengal politics. He was an excellent orator. I have known him from his students' politics days when he used to be the state secretary of CPI-M's students' arm Students Federation of India (SFI). I am deeply saddened at his death."
"It is an irreparable loss for us. We tried everything but failed to save Shyamal (Chakraborty) da," said senior CPI-M leader Sujan Chakraborty.
(With inputs from agencies)