Former Lok Sabha Speaker and veteran Communist leader Somnath Chatterjee passed away in Kolkata of West Bengal early Monday morning.
Chatterjee breathed his last at around 8:15 am, according to sources.
He was 89 years old at the time of his demise.
The veteran politician had been put on ventilator support after being re-admitted to the hospital following kidney ailments.
Chatterjee was born in Tezpur of Assam during the colonial rule of the British on July 25 in the year 1929.
Chatterjee had served in active politics for over for over four decades.
He had served as the 13th Speaker of the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2009.
Chatterjee was elected as member of Parliament for ten times from Bolpur, Jadhavpur and Bardhman in West Bengal.
He became a member of the Lok Sabha in 1971.
In his life, Chatterjee lost only one election – to now Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee in 1984, which made her the youngest parliamentarian at the age of 29 years.
He had Joined CPI-M in 1968 and was expelled from the party in 2008.
A towering figure in the party and its only Speaker in Lok Sabha, Somnath Chatterjee was expelled during the tussle between the CPM and the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh over the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Expressing his condolences at the demise of the Communist stalwart, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted:
‘Former MP and Speaker Shri Somnath Chatterjee was a stalwart of Indian politics. He made our Parliamentary democracy richer and was a strong voice for the well-being of the poor and vulnerable. Anguished by his demise. My thoughts are with his family and supporters.’
Congress president Rahul Gandhi also tweeted:
‘I mourn the passing away of Shri Somnath Chatterjee, 10 term MP and former Speaker of the Lok Sabha. He was an institution. Greatly respected and admired by all parliamentarians, across party lines. My condolences to his family at this time of grief.’