Former Lok Sabha Speaker and veteran communist leader Somnath Chatterjee died at 8 am today at a hospital in Kolkata. He was admitted to a private hospital for kidney-related ailment. His condition deteriorated on Sunday after he suffered a mild heart attack. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
Lok Sabha Speaker from 2004 to 2009, Chatterjee was a member of the Communist Party of India (M) for 40 years since 1968, represented the party 10 times in parliament, and was acknowledged as one of its most brilliant ever. He lost only one election in his lifetime -- to Mamata Banerjee from the Jadavpur constituency in 1984.
While mourning the loss, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "He made our Parliamentary democracy richer and 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."
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, "He was an institution. Greatly respected and admired by all parliamentarians, across party lines. My condolences to his family at this time of grief."