Gurudas Dasgupta, a stalwart of the Communist Party of India and Member of Parliament has decided not to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. In a letter written to the party’s national executive committee recently, he has sought to be relieved from the Lok Sabha contest. CPI party insiders said that he cited old age as one for the reasons for his seeking a retirement from parliamentary politics.
78-year-old Dasgupta worked as a parliamentarian for 25 years – first as a Rajya Sabha member for three terms in 1985, 1988 and 1994 and again as a Member of Parliament for two terms in 2004 and 2009.
As a parliamentarian Gurudas Dasgupta had acquired a distinction as a powerful crusader against corruption and economic offences, and a champion of the working class movement – both organized and unorganized sector. His opting out of the 2014 Lok Sabha contest will be a great a loss to the CPI party, said political circles. Dasgupta had upheld a rich tradition of brilliant oratory as was witnessed in the past in other CPI members of parliament like Hiren Mookerjee, Indrajit Gupta or Geeta Mukherjee.
When asked about his decision by the Indian Express, Dasgupta did not wish to elaborate and only stated that he had written to the party’s executive committee not to nominate him for the 2014 elections. “In the communist party one has a constitutional right to withdraw from a position, from a contest and I opted for that,” said Das Gupta. He refused to make any further elaborations.
In the parliament, Dasgupta had been associated with several important committees like consultative committee on Labour, Sick and Public Sector Units, Finance etc. He was also a member of the joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC ) on Harshad Mehta related Securities Scam and in the 2G spectrum scam. In 2009, he was elected leader of the CPI party in Lok Sabha.
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However, top CPI party sources said that there were basically two reasons for his opting out of the contest. One, his age and winning another term would have meant that he would have to perform his responsibilities for another five years when he will be 83 years of age. He did not want to take this burden. The second cause was reportedly an apprehension that with the winds of change still blowing strongly in favour of the Trinamool Congress his victory in Ghatal LS seat from East Midnapore is under serious clouds. “He would not want to contest and get defeated. It would be a much better ending for him to retire without facing defeat,” said a top CPI leader.
Manju Majumder, the West Bengal state secretary of the CPI when contacted said, “It is sad but one has to accept the reality. The state party executive committee will meet on February 10 in Kolkata to finalize its choice of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls and fowrward it to the national executive committee for approval.” It is obvious that Gurudas Dasgupta’s name will not be on the list. Party sources said that Dasgupta was requested to reconsider his decision but he stuck to his stand firmly.
Somnath Chatterjee, the former Lok Sabha Speaker and earlier a CPI(M) parliamentarian who had seen Gurudas Dasgupta in parliament for years said, “The House will certainly miss his absence. I have seen him as one of the most active, alert members in the House espousing the cause of the common people. He was never a sleeping member, neither was he a disturbing member in teh House,” said Chatterjee.