Kerala leaders mourn the loss of comrade Surjeet

August 1st, 2008 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 1 (IANS) Veteran Communist leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet, who died in New Delhi Friday after a prolonged illness, was remembered fondly here not just by his comrades in Kerala’s government but also by the opposition Congress. Chief Minister V.S.Achuthanandan said he had been fortunate to be associated with Surjeet for more than five decades.

“I recall the association that I had with him fondly. When our party here in the state went through troubled times, the timely intervention that he made was very crucial. His loss is irreparable,” said Achuthanandan.

Surjeet’s role in containing the warring factions of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in Kerala had won him appreciation from all sides, especially during the Malappuram party congress in 2005 when the party seemed irrevocably divided between Achuthanandan and secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

“He had a wide following and this included top political leaders from various parties. With regards to the growth of the CPI-M, the role he played in shaping the party is really memorable,” said Vijayan.

State Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said he became associated closely with Surjeet when he assisted the veteran in preparing two books.

“He became the general secretary of the party (in 1992) at a crucial juncture because the Congress party began losing its sheen and when rightist forces began raising their head. It was his acumen that helped the party to play its role and he was a political enigma. A huge loss for the movement,” said Isaac.

State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala said the demise of Surjeet was a loss to national politics.

“He played a very vital role in national politics. In Delhi we stayed close by and he was always highly respected by all. He was truly secular and will be remembered for long,” said Chennithala.

A team of leaders from Kerala are expected to be in New Delhi Sunday for Surjeet’s funeral.

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