Just three days short of his 83rd birthday on November 3, veteran CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta passed away. In his death, the Indian trade union movement lost a doyen, who brought unity among disparate trade unions. How can one forget that this very simple man organised a nationwide strike in defence of the public sector during the UPA-II regime and more than 20 crore workers participated in it. Dasgupta spent three terms in the Rajya Sabha and two in the Lok Sabha. Instead of a big bungalow like other MPs, Dasgupta lived in a small bungalow in Delhi’s Canning Lane, but during his tenure as general secretary of the AITUC, he built an office at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg, near the BJP’s palatial headquarters.
Simple and honest, Dasgupta was once awarded Rs 7.5 lakh by the income tax department after he exposed a “mischief" by a big company. He donated the entire amount to the Punjab unit of National Federation of Indian Women to be spent on the children of victims of terrorism of Khalistan. As a lawmaker he raised the Harshad Mehta scandal in Parliament and exposed several irregularities, but the 2G scam brought the best out of the lawmaker. Once I saw him with a party member, an aged woman, and he was carrying her small trunk walking towards the New Delhi railway station. I now know why such politicians are a near-extinct species.
Bidyut Chatterjee, Faridabad
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