December 3, 2020

Somen Mitra, Grasp Strategist & West Bengal Congress President, Dies at 78

West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra handed away at a Kolkata hospital within the wee hours of Thursday. He was 78.

Mitra handed away round 1.30 am after struggling a cardiac arrest, the hospital sources mentioned, including he had examined detrimental for novel coronavirus.

“He was admitted to the hospital a couple of days again after his creatinine degree was discovered to be excessive throughout a routine check-up. He was a affected person of power obstructive pulmonary illness (COPD) and in addition had different age-related illnesses,” a senior official of the hospital instructed information company PTI.

He’s survived by his spouse and son. A couple of years in the past, the veteran politician had undergone bypass surgical procedure.

The state’s Congress chief will probably be remembered as a key strategist, who, nonetheless, was unable to forestall a break up in his get together, which resulted within the creation of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the autumn of the Congress as a political energy in Bengal.

Notably, within the late 90’s, throughout Mitra’s second time period because the get together president, Congress was pressured to relinquish its standing as the primary opposition to the then highly effective Left Entrance regime to the TMC.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her grief over the chief’s demise.”Saddened to listen to concerning the passing away of veteran chief, former MP and @INCWestBengal president Somen Mitra. My deepest condolences to his family, followers and well-wishers,” Banerjee wrote on Twitter.


A veteran within the state’s politics, Mitra’s political profession lasted for greater than fifty years and began through the 60’s when he was a pupil chief.

Groomed by Congress loyalists like A B A Ghani Khan Chowdhury, Mitra grew to become the youngest MLA within the state meeting in 1972 from the Sealdah seat. He was simply 26.

Besides in 1977, Mitra continued to win the Sealdah meeting phase, which stopped present after delimitation, from 1982-2006.

Fondly often known as Chhorada’ (youthful brother), Mitra was considered as one of many revolutionary politicians of the 1960s and ’70s period and performed a significant position within the struggle in opposition to the Naxals in Kolkata.

Mitra, who went on to change into three-time president of the Congress’ West Bengal unit from 1992-1996, 1996-1998 after which once more from September 2018, was instrumental within the get together securing 82 seats in opposition to the Left Entrance within the 1996 meeting elections.

Nevertheless, with Congress and the Left Entrance becoming a member of fingers on the Centre to again the United Entrance authorities, its credibility as the primary opposition to the CPI(M) in Bengal was misplaced.

It was then that Mamata Banerjee, who was the West Bengal Youth Congress president on the time, started rising because the principal opposition pressure who had a tricky strategy in opposition to the Left Entrance.

Mitra and Banerjee acquired embroiled in an inner-party tussle throughout the Bengal Congress unit. The relations between the 2 soured when Banerjee positioned herself in opposition to Mitra for the submit of state Congress president.

Mitra, a stalwart of Congress politics, was in a position to safe a victory within the inner get together election by 22 votes, after which unprecedented scenes unfolded on the Maharashtra Niwas in South Kolkata.

It’s claimed that he together with the then Congress nationwide president Sitaram Kesari cornered Banerjee within the get together, after which she broke away to type the Trinamool Congress in 1998.

With the TMC siding with the BJP and changing Congress because the principal opposition of the Left Entrance in Bengal by securing seven seats within the 1998 parliamentary polls, Mitra stepped down as state Congress president.

He left the Congress in 2008 and launched his political outfit Pragatisheel (Progressive) Indira Congress.

Nevertheless, Mitra merged his outfit with the Banerjee’s TMC earlier than the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and received the election on a TMC ticket from the Diamond Harbour parliamentary seat.

However in one other flip of occasions, Mitra left the TMC in 2014 after variations with Banerjee cropped up and rejoined Congress.

Bruised closely by fixed infighting and defections to the TMC, Mitra was once more made Congress president in 2018, to resuscitate the get together.

He was one of many chief strategists behind the CPI (M)-led Left Entrance and Congress alliance in West Bengal through the 2016 meeting elections.

Mitra was inclined on an alliance with the Left through the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, however after the talks didn’t materialise and each the events confronted a drubbing, he performed a pivotal position in bringing them collectively after the elections.

Mitra, together with Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, was a staunch voice in opposition to any type of alliance with the TMC in Bengal.

(With PTI inputs)