Pall of gloom at CPI-M office as Surjeet passes away

August 1st, 2008 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) The party flag was lowered and there was almost pin-drop silence at the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) office here Friday as the party mourned the loss of stalwart leader Harkishen Singh Surjeet. The entrance to the party’s central office was cleaned up and a big photo of the CPI-M veteran was put up for people to pay their tributes at. A pall of gloom had enveloped the premises.

Former prime minister I.K. Gujral, who was a close friend of Surjeet, reached the party office to condole his death.

“I am in an unfortunate position to talk about the grievous loss of a lifelong friend. My association with Surjeet was life-long,” said Gujral.

“We became friends in 1936 when I joined college. He was already a stalwart.”

“I distinctly remember myself and my parents meeting Surjeet in the Communist party office in Jalandhar when we came to India after partition. May his spirit guide our destiny,” Gujral added.

Surjeet, 92, died Friday at the Metro Hospital in Noida after a prolonged illnes.CPI-M leader Nilotpal Basu was also present and said: “He was a product of the freedom struggle. His death is not only a loss of our party, neither of the Left movement only, but of the whole nation.”

“He played the role of a vigilant guard in the struggle of protecting the country’s democracy. We will have to complete the work which he has left incomplete,” Basu said.

The CPI-M earlier issued a statement expressing its grief over the Surjeet’s death.

“He was a master tactician who could translate the party’s political line into practice, implementing it with great skill and innovation. His was a lifelong fight against communalism,” the party said in the statement.

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