Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Subrata Mukherjee passed away following prolonged illness at a state-run hospital in Kolkata on Thursday, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee stated. The 75-year-old was the state panchayat minister.
The chief minister visited the SSKM Hospital and declared that he died later in the evening. “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.
He had been shifted to the ICU of the hospital last week after he complained of severe breathing isseus, according to the sources at the medical facility.
Born in the year 1946 in South 24 Parganas district, Mukherjee was the eldest of five siblings. A stalwart in Bengal politics, his political career spanned more than five decades, beginning in the 1960s as a young student leader.
After coming into politics as a student leader of Bangabasi College in 1967, when West Bengal had its first non-Congress government, Mukherjee, through his organisational and oratory skills, quickly rose through the ranks and became one of the most popular leaders of the Congress, along with late Union minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi and former state Congress president Somen Mitra.
Mukherjee’s organisational skills were noticed by Dasmunsi, who took him under his wings. The pair crisscrossed the length and breadth of West Bengal, fighting the two-front ideological and political battle with the Naxalites and the Left. Dasmunsi and Mitra died in 2017 and 2020.
Mukherjee’s first brush with electoral politics came in 1971 when he became the youngest MLA in the West Bengal Assembly from the Ballygunge seat at 25.
His political career reached an new level in 1972, when he became the youngest minister in the Siddhartha Shankar Ray cabinet after the Congress returned to power with a massive mandate. He was made the minister of state for information and culture.
He was also often criticised for suppressing the press during the Emergency period from 1975-77. He unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls thrice – from Kolkata Northwest in 2004 and from Bankura in 2009 and 2019.