President, PM mourn Surjeet death

August 1st, 2008 - 4:24 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh mourned the death after prolonged illness of Communist veteran Harkishan Singh Surjeet Friday afternoon. While the president’s office sent a condolence message, the prime minister described the late leader as a “great patriot”.

Manmohan Singh, who reached Colombo Friday to attend the SAARC summit, said the Marxist veteran was a “friend, guide and supporter”.

Remembering Surjeet’s role in bringing various political parties together to form a coalition, Manmohan Singh said he was the architect of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

Surjeet, who had been the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary from 1992-2005, died after a cardiac arrest at 1.35 p.m. at the Metro Hospital in Noida.

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja said Surjeet’s death was a “big loss”.

Observing that the departed leader was a “great inspiration”, CPI-M leader Nilotpal Basu said: “He played a pivotal role in bringing together different political parties and changing the political scenario.”

Added Mohammed Salim, a CPI-M MP from West Bengal: “He developed a young band of communist leaders, who are politically aware, unlike others who promote their daughters, sons and in-laws. He was a very hard working person and did not waste any time. He built the party and the movement and fought against divisive communal forces.”

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