Dasmunsi- master organiser and fiery orator no more

first_imgKolkata, Nov 20 (PTI) Senior Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, who died at a Delhi hospital today after being in coma for nine long years, was a master organiser and a fiery orator known for his skills to build relations cutting across political lines.Dasmunsi was baptised inpolitics as a student leader in the late 1960s when Bengal was going through one of its most tumultuous political periods.Naxalite movement was its peak then and the first United Front government in Bengal with CPI(M) at its helm was trying to provide an alternative to the Congress.In the late sixties and early seventies, students politics in the state was synonymous with the Naxalite movement and students of the iconic Presidency College and Calcutta University joined the armed struggle.Dasmunsi, who was then state president of Chhatra Parishad, Congress student wing, provided an alternative to those who didnt agree with the policies of the Left and the politics of annihilation of class enemies proposed by the Naxalites.With his organisational and oratory skills, he began organising students against the Leftists and leading politicians of the state such as Subrata Mukherjee, who is now the panchayat minister and Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, who is the minister of power and non-conventional energy sources, were his proteges during the student movement.It was widely said that it was due to Dasmuni taking up the leadership of the students and the youth movement in the early 70s had helped Siddhartha Shankar Ray to become the chief minister of West Bengal from 1972-77.advertisementMukherjee paying his tribute to his mentor today said “I have become fatherless again. During my days of student politics we lived together in a commune. We studied in Calcutta University. He (Dasmunsi) even cooked for us. He had a charismatic personality which attracted youths. It was because of him that Congress came to power in 1972.”Dasmunsi became the state president of Youth Congress and became an AICC member in 1970. He was also made the president of All India Youth Congress and also entered the Parliament as a member of Lok Sabha the following year at the age of 26.In 1979 following differences with the party high command, he quit Congress and joined Congress (Socialist) and became its West Bengal president. In 1980 he returned to Congress and in 1984 to Parliament as MP of Howrah Lok Sabha constituency by promising to open the closed the factories there. His bid to return from the seat failed in 1989.His oratory skills and organisational capability was noticed by the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who inducted him in the council of ministers as minister of state for commerce.He lost general elections in 1991, but manged to win the Howrah seat again in 1996.In 1999 and 2004, Dasmunsi successfully fought the Lok Sabha elections from Raiganj (now under Uttar Dinajpur district).In the UPA-1, he served as minister for information and broadcasting and held the portfolio of the parliamentary affairs department from 2004 to 2008.His stint has information and broadcasting minister was marked with several important landmark decisions such as the bans on Western television networks which were deemed obscene by Dasmunsi. He was also responsible for the decision that requireed Indian sports broadcaster Nimbus Communications to share broadcast rights for Indian cricket matches with the state television network, Doordarshan.Besides politics, he was an ardent football lover, who was president of AIFF for nearly two decades till 2008.With the death of Dasmunsi, Bengal lost one of its brighest political luminaries who like his predecessors B C Roy, Pranab Mukherjee, Jyoti Basu and Hiren Mukherjee crossed the boundaries of state politics to play an important role in national politics. PTI PNT KKlast_img read more