Trade union leader M.K. Pandhe is dead (Lead)

August 21st, 2011 - 12:15 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) M.K. Pandhe, a veteran leader of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), died here early Saturday following a massive heart attack, the Marxist trade union said. He was 86.

One of the founder leaders of CITU, he was its general secretary from 1991 to 2003 and president from 2003 to 2010. He had been the national secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), from which CITU was born, in the early 1960s.

A CITU spokesman told IANS that Pandhe passed away at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

Beginning with student politics, he joined the Communist movement in 1943 and was elected to the Politburo of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) — to which CITU is affiliated — in 1998. He held that position till his death.

“His singular contribution in the trade union movement and organising and leading the workers in the strategic sector of industries had been unparalleled,” a party statement said.

“Also crucial had been his contribution in organising the workers in the unorganized sector and also emphasising the working women’s role in the trade union movement.”

Despite age related problems and failing health, which included cancer and the hazards of treatment and accompanying complications, nothing “could not deter him from his activities spreading over the length and breadth of the country”.

A prolific writer, his booklet on India’s free market economic policies, published in 1991, was translated into all Indian languages.

“Despite being the tallest leader of the working class movement, he was accessible to all including the common workers,” the statement said.

“His simple lifestyle will always be remembered.”

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