‘Stalwart of Indian politics’: President Kovind, PM Modi pay tributes to Somnath Chatterjee
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday led the nation in mourning the death of Somnath Chatterjee, the former Lok Sabha speaker and one of India’s most respected parliamentarians.
“Sorry to hear of the passing of Somnath Chatterjee, former Speaker of the Lok Sabha and a veteran parliamentarian who had a forceful presence in the House. A loss for public life in Bengal and India. My condolences to his family and innumerable well-wishers,” the President said in a tweet.
Prime Minister Modi described Chatterjee as a stalwart of Indian politics who he said made the parliamentary democracy richer.
Modi tweeted that Chatterjee “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”.
Somnath Chatterjee died at 8:15am at the Belle Vue Clinic in Kolkata following a cardiac arrest and prolonged age-related ailments. The 10-time parliamentarian was admitted to the clinic on June 28.
He was discharged on August 5 but taken to the hospital again on August 9, when a dialysis was performed on him. He was put on ventilation last Friday.
Condolences started pouring in after the nursing home announced Somnath Chatterjee’s death.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee called the death of Chatterjee a great loss.
“Saddened at the passing away of Somnath-Da. My condolences to his family and admirers. This is a great loss for us,” the Trinamool Congress chief tweeted.
Banerjee sent Partha Chatterjee, then the industry minister, to take Somnath Chatterjee’s advice on how to take the state forward in the path of development in June 2011, just about a month after assuming charge in West Bengal.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also mourned the death of the former Left leader in their tweets.
“He was an institution. Greatly respected and admired by all parliamentarians, across party lines. My condolences to his family at this time of grief,” Gandhi tweeted.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah described Chatterjee as an excellent parliamentarian.
“Saddened to learn about the demise of Somnath Chatterjee, former Speaker of Lok Sabha,” Shah tweeted.
“He (Chatterjee) was an excellent Parliamentarian, whose long years as a member of the House, enriched our Parliamentary traditions. My condolences to his family and supporters in this hour of grief,” he added.
Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao also expressed his deep condolences and described Chatterjee as a great parliamentarian and a person who conducted the proceedings of the Lok Sabha with the highest standards.
He recalled his association with Somnath Chatterjee when he was a member of Parliament and a Union minister.
Rao said Chatterjee, as the speaker, gave them enough time to put forward their argument in the House while they were agitating for a separate Telangana and when Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s MPs resigned for the cause