By Nitya Chakraborty
Gurudas Dasgupta, the veteran CPI Member of Parliament for nearly three decades and one of the tallest leaders of the trade union movement in the country died in Kolkata on Thursday morning. He was 83. His passing away signals an era in Bengal when the student movement gave birth to future leaders who took up struggles for the common people as their career.
He was former CPI Deputy General Secretary, renowned parliamentarian and veteran trade union leader who headed All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) in various capacities. He was born on November 3, 1936, in Barisal, now in Bangladesh. He is survived by his wife Jayashree and a daughter.
He was a post-graduate in Commerce from Calcutta University and joined politics from student days. He was also very active as a national leader of All India Youth Federation and was associated with the Communist Party of India from student days.
Gurudas was the President of Undivided Bengal Provincial Students` Federation, 1958-60, General Secretary of Asutosh College Students` Union, 1957; West Bengal Committee of All India Youth Federation, 1967-77 and West Bengal Youth Festival Preparatory Committee, 1968, 1970 and 1973.
He got elected as a member of the national council of the CPI in 1986 and rose to the level of deputy general secretary of the party in 2015 at Puducherry Party Congress. He got elected to the Rajya Sabha for the first time in 1985 and got re-elected in 1988. Again in 1994 he was re-elected for the Rajya Sabha, third term. In 2004 he was elected to the Lok Sabha and was re-elected to the lower house in 2009.
As a member of parliament, he was part of various consultative, joint parliamentary and sub-committees and also he headed some of these committees.
He was associated with AITUC in various capacities and rose to become its general secretary in 2001 and continued till December 2017 and was also the vice-president of Bhartiya Khet Mazdoor Union. During his 17-year tenure as the general secretary of AITUC, he led many struggles of the trade unions and played a major role in uniting the various trade unions in favour of the urgent demands of the workers. He was a pillar of strength to the trade unions in banking, insurance and oil industry.
The National Secretariat of the Communist Party of India expressed its heartfelt condolences at the demise of former Deputy General Secretary. The Party sent its condolences to the bereaved members of his family and will be observing three-day mourning. On hearing the news of his demise, Party General Secretary D Raja rushed to Kolkata to pay his last tributes and to take part in the funeral.
Though just a coincidence, the working class veteran passed away on the day when the workers all over India are marking the 100th year of the foundation of AITUC, which he headed for 17 years.