Kolkata: Senior TMC chief and West Bengal minister Subrata Mukherjee will go down in historical past as a person for all seasons who sailed via the state’s politics each as a deft politician and an in a position administrator for greater than 50 years.
Seventy-five-year-old Mukherjee, who held the panchayat and rural growth portfolios, handed away after extended sickness at a state-run hospital in Kolkata on Thursday night.
Born in 1946 in South 24 Parganas district, Mukherjee was the eldest of 5 siblings.
A stalwart in Bengal politics, his political profession spanned greater than 5 many years, starting within the tumultuous Sixties as a scholar chief.
After being baptised in politics as a scholar chief of Bangabasi Faculty in 1967, when West Bengal had its first non-Congress authorities, Mukherjee, via his organisational and oratory abilities, shortly rose via the ranks and have become one of the standard leaders of the Congress, together with late Union minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi and former state Congress president Somen Mitra.
Dasmunsi and Mitra died in 2017 and 2020 respectively.
Mukherjee’s organisational abilities have been seen by Dasmunsi, who took him underneath his wings. The pair crisscrossed the size and breadth of West Bengal, combating the two-front ideological and political battle with the Naxalites and the Left.
His oratory and organisational abilities had additionally earned him reward of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Mukherjee’s first brush with electoral politics got here in 1971 when he grew to become the youngest MLA within the West Bengal Meeting from the Ballygunge seat at 25.
His political profession reached a brand new excessive when in 1972, he grew to become the youngest minister within the Siddhartha Shankar Ray cupboard after the Congress returned to energy with an enormous mandate. He was made the minister of state for data and tradition.
He was usually criticised for suppressing the press in the course of the Emergency interval from 1975-77.
Though he misplaced the elections in 1977, it didn’t cease his speedy development within the celebration, and he was again within the Meeting after the 1982 polls from the Jorabagan seat. He remained a member of the Meeting until the final day of his life, from the Ballygunge seat.
In accordance with veteran politicians of the state, Mukherjee was the political mentor of Mamata Banerjee throughout her preliminary years in Chhatra Parishad within the late Nineteen Seventies and early Sixties.
Mukherjee had proposed Banerjee’s identify because the Congress candidate in opposition to then CPI(M) stalwart Somnath Chatterjee from the Jadavpur Lok Sabha seat in 1984 parliamentary polls. Banerjee went on to defeat Chatterjee to emerge as a large killer in state politics.
Some of the vibrant politicians within the state, Mukherjee was additionally recognized for his sense of humour and as somebody who was relaxed when it got here to shifting camps.
He additionally acted in a tv serial alongside Moon Moon Sen within the late Eighties.
He converted to the newly-formed TMC in 1999, though he remained an MLA of the Congress from the Chowranghee seat.
His acumen as an in a position administrator was broadly praised throughout his tenure because the mayor of the Kolkata Municipal Company from 2000 to 2005.
However in 2005, as a result of variations with Banerjee, he left the TMC and fashioned an alliance with the Nationalist Congress Social gathering.
Mukherjee’s desertion dealt a heavy blow to the TMC, resulting in its defeat within the 2005 KMC election.
Livid over his betrayal, Banerjee had nicknamed him “tormuj” (watermelon), describing him as somebody who was a Congress activist in public however was hand in glove with the CPI(M).
Although one of many Left Entrance regime’s fiercest critics, Mukherjee was recognized for sustaining shut ties with CPI(M) leaders, together with the then chief minister Jyoti Basu.
He later went again to the Congress in 2005 solely to abandon it once more simply forward of the 2010 KMC polls to affix the TMC.
“Subrata Mukherjee was not solely an in a position organiser and administrator however had a deep reference to the grassroots stage employees. Possibly, that was the rationale that he was at all times on the profitable aspect,” veteran Congress chief and MP Pradip Bhattacharya mentioned.
In 2011, he was elected from the Ballygunge seat as a TMC candidate and was given the panchayats and rural growth cost. Throughout his tenure, West Bengal earned laurels for being one of many top-performing states within the implementation of the MGNREGA scheme. He additionally held the portfolio of public enterprise and industrial reconstruction.
Simply forward of the 2016 Meeting polls, Mukherjee’s identify cropped up within the Narada sting tape case together with just a few different TMC leaders. He had denied any involvement and termed it a “political conspiracy”.
A graduate of anthropology and a grasp’s diploma holder in archaeology, Mukherjee was a vivid storyteller who firmly believed within the existence of ghosts.
He unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls thrice — from Kolkata Northwest in 2004 and from Bankura in 2009 and 2019.