Veteran CPM leader and former state commerce and industries minister Nirupam Sen — hailed as one of the architects of West Bengal’s industrial drive under former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee — passed way at a Kolkata hospital Monday after prolonged illness. He was 72. The former CPM politburo member is survived by his wife, a son and daughter.
“Mr Nirupam Sen passed away at around 5.10 am after prolonged illness… he was suffering from pneumonia, leading to septic shock, causing multi-organ failure in a background of diabetes, hypertension, cerebral stroke and chronic kidney disease on maintenance haemodialysis,” a statement issued by AMRI Hospital, Salt Lake said.
Sen retired from active politics in 2013, when he had suffered a cerebral stroke. He had been on life support since after his health deteriorated in early December. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, “Saddened at the passing away of Nirupam Sen, former minister of West Bengal. Condolences to his family and well wishers.”
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury described Sen as a “dedicated Communist who devoted his entire life to the cause of the working class and the peasantry. He served in various capacities including as a member, politbureau and a senior minister in Left Front governments.”
CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra, politburo member Mohammad Salim also offered their condolences.
“Nirupam Sen was an articulate exponent of Marxism and wrote extensively for party papers. He was a popular speaker who could effectively put forth the party’s views on various subjects. In 2013, he suffered a brain hemorrhage and was partially paralysed. Despite this disability, he continue to attend meetings and keep contact with comrades. Nirupam Sen was a dedicated Marxist who endeared himself to all with his gentle and modest behaviour. In his death, the party and Left movement have lost a valuable leader. The politbureau pays respectful tribute to the memory of Nirupam Sen and conveys its heartfelt condolences to his wife Chandrabali, his daughter, son and other members of the family,” said a statement issued by CPM politburo. Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi also conveyed his condolences to the leader’s family.
In 2001, when the Left Front government was voted to power for the sixth time, Sen was made the commerce and industries minister. It was under the leadership of Buddhadeb and him that the Left Front government initiated an industrialisation drive in the state, which resulted in the party’s landslide victory in the 2006 Assembly polls when it won 230 out of 294 seats.
However, the anti-land acquisition movements in Singur and Nandigram led by then opposition party TMC played a major role in the fall of the 34-year-old Left Front government in 2011. In 2011, he lost the Assembly election. Later, due to his ill health, he stepped down from the politburo, central and state committees.
The CPM leader’s body will be taken to his residence and then to a private mortuary in the city. On Wednesday, it will be taken to the CITU office and then to the party’s state headquarters. He will be cremated in Burdwan, his home town, Wednesday.