Kolkata: Veteran CPI(M) leader Nirupam Sen, credited as the architect of West Bengal’s industrial drive during the Left Front rule, died at a city hospital today morning after a prolonged illness, family sources said.
He was 72. The former politburo member of the party left behind his wife, a son and a daughter. Sen passed away at 5:10 am following a cardiac arrest, hospital sources said.
The former West Bengal commerce and industry minister was on life support system after his health condition deteriorated in early December and had been critical since then. “Sen was fighting kidney ailments. He was impaired by a cerebral attack in 2013,” an official at the hospital said.
One of the most prominent faces of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya cabinet after the CPI(M)-led Left Front was voted to power in 2001, Sen was handed the charge of commerce and industries. It was under the leadership of Bhattacharya and Sen that the Left Front started selling the dream of industrialisation in the state and shifted focus to private investments.
This shift in the policy reaped them heavy dividends resulting in the Left Front’s resounding victory in the 2006 assembly election. But by the end of 2006, land acquisition movement at Singur over the Tata Nano car plant had started taking toll on the regime.
The protest against the forcible land acquisition ultimately led the Tata Motors to shift the car plant from Singur to Gujarat in 2008. The anti-land acquisition protests in Singur and Nandigram led by the then opposition Trinamool Congress was one of the reasons behind the fall of the 34-year-old Left Front government in the state in 2011.
Faced with intense criticism both within and outside the party, Sen, then a CPI(M) politburo member, had withdrawn himself from active politics.
In the next few years due to ill health, he stepped down from the politburo, the central committee and earlier this year during the CPI(M) party congress, he stepped down from the state committee.
He was a three-time MLA from Bardhaman Dakshin constituency. Party sources said Sen’s body would be taken to his residence and then to a private mortuary in the city.
“On Wednesday, Sen’s body will be taken to the CITU office here and then to the party’s state head quarters where people will be allowed to pay their last respect,” the sources said. His mortal remains would be consigned to flames in Burdwan, his home town, on Wednesday.