The exit of two among the nine founding fathers of the CPI(M), Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Jyoti Basu, from full-fledged membership of Politburo marks the end of an era in the almost 90-year-old history of communist movement in India.
However, Basu continues as a special invitee to the Politburo but Surjeet would remain an invitee in the Central Committee along with the 95-year-old former CITU chief Samar Mukherjee, the oldest delegate to attend the 19th Congress of CPI(M) which concluded here today.
Mukherjee is elder than Basu (94) and Surjeet (93 years).
R Umanath and Benode Das, who attended the Congress, have the longest association with the party, joining it in 1939, party sources said. The Communist Party was formed in India in 1921 and split into two in 1964, giving birth to the CPI(M).
Das, a delegate from West Bengal underwent the longest jail term of more than 11 years. Umanath, the third outgoing Politburo member, would continue as a Central Committee member.
The exit of veteran party leaders snaps the link of the party with the leading lights of the freedom movement and shifts the responsibility on younger shoulders.
The youngest delegates were Shebbeer K I and M Swaraj from Kerala, who were aged 28, while the youngest observer was the 27-year-old Ritabrata Banerjee.
Sehba Farooqi from Delhi, who joined in 2005, had the shortest association with the party among delegates/observers.
From among the 787 delegates and observers who attended, 87 were women, whose representation had gone up by two per cent compared to the last congress. A total of 718 delegates and 69 observers attended the six-day Congress.