Featured Image: Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi handing over an award to actress Asha Parekh in January 2008. File photo courtesy Photo Division, GoI.
Kolkata: AFTER being in a coma for a little over nine years, veteran Congress leader, former Union minister from Bengal and former president of the All India Football Federation, Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, breathed his last today.
He was 72 and is survived by wife Deepa Dasmunsi and teenage son Michil Dasmunsi.
The former Union minister of state for commerce, parliamentary affairs, and information & broadcasting, Dasmunsi was declared dead at Apollo Hospital in New Delhi at 12.10 this afternoon.
He was on life support at the private hospital since October 2008 after having suffered a cerebral stroke at his home constituency Raiganj in north Bengal. At the time of his death, wife and son were by his side.
According to his younger brother Ashim Dasmunsi, the departed leader will be brought to Kolkata by a flight around 11 tonight and will then be taken to Raiganj for the cremation. The cremation is likely to take place tomorrow.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and former President Pranab Mukherjee have offered condolences on Dasmunsi’s demise.
“Shri Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi was a popular leader with rich political and administrative experience. He did notable work to popularise football in India. Saddened by his demise. My thoughts are with Deepa Dasmunsi ji and family as well as his supporters,” the Prime Minister has tweeted.
President Kovind’s tweet reads: “Sad to hear about the demise of former Union Minister and veteran political leader Shri Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi. He contributed much to Bengal and to the administration of football in our country. My condolences to his family and associates.”
“Deeply saddened at the passing away of Shri Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi. His loss will be felt forever. Heartfelt condolences to his family and friends,” reads the tweet from Pranab Mukherjee, the former President.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too has tweeted a condolence that reads: “I am deeply saddened by the death of Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi. It is a great loss. May his soul rest in peace.”
She has further mentioned that Dasmunsi “was a very popular leader in Bengal since 1972…He was in coma for almost 9 years. A massive stroke in 2008 virtually ended his political career. Otherwise, he could have done more in his political life. He was still alive, but now he is no more.”
Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi was born on 13 November 1945 in the East Bengal region of undivided India. After receiving masters’ degree education at North Bengal University in Siliguri, he joined electoral politics as the state Youth Congress president in 1970.
In 1971, he was elected to the Lok Sabha from south Kolkata constituency. In 1984, he got re-elected to the Lok Sabha from Howrah, and the next year he became a Union minister of state for commerce.
But the political fortune ditched him and he lost two successive Lok Sabha polls from Howrah in 1989 and 1991. Instead of giving up, he contested again from Howrah in 1996 and got re-elected to the Lok Sabha. In between, he married Kolkata-based Deepa Dasmunsi in 1994.
In the 1999 Lok Sabha polls, Dasmunsi changed his constituency again and this time got elected from Raiganj in north Bengal, which was his hometown. He repeated the feat in 2004 from Raiganj and became a minister of state for parliamentary affairs and information & broadcasting in the first Manmohan Singh government.
He also became the president of All India Football Federation and served it for nearly 20 years.
All were sailing smoothly that on 12 October 2008, he suffered a cerebral stroke at his home at Raiganj. His was airlifted to All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences but slipped into a coma. He was shifted to Apollo Hospital later that month and remained there for the past nine with his family hoping that Dasmunsi will jump back to normal life.
But his condition deteriorated around 10 November and he was declared dead today.