Kolkata: Bengal’s veteran politician Subrata Mukherjee died while being treated for cardiac ailments at a state-run hospital in Kolkata on Thursday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.
Mukherjee, who was the state panchayat minister, was 75. He is survived by his wife.
Mukherjee was also in charge of three other departments.
The veteran politician who underwent angioplasty early this week, died at 9.22 PM after suffering a massive cardiac arrest, state minister Firhad Hakim said.
The chief minister who was performing Kali Puja at her Kalighat residence, visited the SSKM Hospital and announced that he is no more.
“I still can’t believe he is no longer with us. He was such a dedicated party leader. It is a personal loss for me,” she said.
His body will be taken to Rabindra Sadan, a government-owned auditorium, on Friday for the people to pay their last respect. From there, it will be taken to his Ballygunge home and then to his ancestral home, Ms Banerjee added.
Sources in the hospital said the minister had a ‘stent thrombosis’, one of the fatal complications of percutaneous coronary intervention.
Mukherjee, who was hospitalised on October 24 following breathing problems, underwent angioplasty when two stents were inserted inside his blocked arteries on November 1, the sources said.
He had been suffering from high blood sugar, CoPD and other age-related ailments.
The former Kolkata mayor was hospitalised with similar ailments in May, after he was arrested and sent to jail in connection with the Narada sting tape case. He was out on bail.
Mukherjee was an up and coming Congress leader of West Bengal during the time of Indira Gandhi’s second term of prime ministership in the 1970s. He had formed a trident with other two Congress leaders – Somen Mitra and Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi.
Mukherjee and Mitra joined the Mamata Banerjee-led party in 2010 and 2008 respectively. While Mitra returned to his old party in 2014, Mukherjee remained in the TMC. Dasmunsi and Mitra died in 2017 and 2020 respectively.
“I have faced many disasters in my life but this is a very big blow. I do not think there will be another man like Subrata da who was such a nice and hard-working person. The party and his constituency (Ballygunge) were his soul. I will not be able to see Subrata da’s body.”
“This evening the principal of the hospital told me that Subrata da is fine and he will be going back home tomorrow. Doctors tried their best,” Ms Banerjee said.
West Bengal Pradesh Congress president Adhir Chowdhury also condoled his death.
“This is a big loss for West Bengal. It feels like I have lost my elder brother. A few days back, I went to see him in the hospital and spoke to him. It’s a big loss for Indian politics,” he said.
The BJP’s West Bengal president, Dr Sukanta Majumdar described Mukherjee’s death as the end of a great era of Bengal politics.
“It’s definitely very sad. He was the youngest Cabinet minister in the Siddhartha Shankar Ray government. From then till today, he was a popular politician. May his soul rest in peace.”
Senior CPI(M) leader and former Kolkata mayor Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya said, “He is a politician of the bygone era. He has always been a smiling personality and an intelligent politician. We may have certain differences of opinion but I consider him as one of the best politicians of Benal I have ever seen.”
Mukherjee was also the chief of a club that organises one of the most popular Durga Pujas of the city.