1 Aug :Harkishan Singh Surjeet, the pragmatic Marxist leader, who played a key role in keeping BJP out of power in 1996 and helped Congress form a coalition govt at the Centre eight years later, died in New Delhi on Friday after prolonged illness.
92-year-old Surjeet, who was convalescing at the Metro Hospital in nearby Noida since 25th July breathed his last at 1335 hours, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said.
The former party General Secretary was earlier admitted to the hospital on 6th May following a severe cardiac arrest and slipped into coma on 16th May.
He fought back and was discharged on 3rd June.Dr Purushottam Lal, chief of Metro Hospital, said Surjeet died of a cardiac arrest.Along with another veteran Marxist Jyoti Basu, Surjeet had played a major role in guiding Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the aftermath of 2004 elections to bring together secular forces.
History turned full circle, as by the time of his death, the CPI(M) had withdrawn support to the Congress-led coalition at the Centre and become a staunch opponent of the ruling party on the issue of Indo-US nuclear deal.
During the reply to the trust vote on 22nd July, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had paid glowing tributes to the "visionary leadership" of Surjeet and Basu in the formation of the government and its continuance for four years.
Despite his Communist background, Surjeet was a consummate player of the democratic political game and was instrumental in the formation of three coalition governments at the Centre.
At the height his anti-Congress days, he along with BJP in the pre-Babri Masjid demolition days, helped V P Singh form the National Front government in 1989.
Later, he took outside support of Congress to form the United Front government to keep BJP out of power in 1996.Ultimately, again he was in forth-front when he brought forth a coalition of parties to help Congress form a government at the Centre in 2004.
Born on 23rd March 1916, in Jalandhar, Surjeet started his political career in the national liberation movement in his early teens as a follower of Bhagat Singh and joining his Naujawan Bharat Sabha.
On the anniversary of Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom, Surjeet was shot twice by the British police for hoisting the Indian tricolour atop a court in Hoshiarpur.
Later, he underwent a jail term. In court, he stated his name as London Tod Singh (one who breaks London).In 1936, he joined the Communist Party of India. When the party split in 1964, Surjeet sided with the CPI(M) as one of the nine founder members.
He remained its Politburo member from 1964 and became the General Secretary from 1992 to 2005.
With his declining health, Surjeet was, for the first time, not included in the Politburo at the party’s 19th Congress in April-May this year. He was designated as Special Invitee to the Central Committee.Leaders across party lines condole Surjeet’s death.A host of leaders from across the political spectrum, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi, on Friday condoled the death of veteran Marxist Harkishan Singh Surjeet and hailed his contribution to Indian politics.
In a condolence message, Gandhi said Surjeet’s death was a loss not only to the Communist movement but to the entire country.
Describing his death as a personal loss to him, Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) Chief Ram Vilas Paswan said “Surjeet was a trouble-shooter at times of crisis.”
"He was a veteran secular leader and his death is a jolt to secular forces," he said noting that he had a 30-year long association with the Marxist leader.
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, CPI(M) leaders Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat reached the Metro hospital, where Surjeet was admitted, and paid tributes to the departed leader.
"Surjeet had made significant contribution to the evolution of Indian politics and the Communist movement in India. He would be missed dearly," Yechury told reporters.
Former Prime Minister I K Gujral paid floral tributes to the Surjeet’s portrait at the CPI(M) office in New Delhi and said it was a "grievous loss of a life-long friend." Courtsey DD NEWS
BHATTAL CONDOLES DEATH OF COMRADE SURJIT
Chandigarh: August 1 : Mrs. Rajinder Kaur Bhattal President Punjab Congress and Leader of the Opposition has expressed deep grief and sorrow over the death of veteran Communist Leader Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjit after protracted illness.
In her message Mrs. Bhattal has said that the country has lost a Nationalist and Secular leader who worked for the cause of common man particularly the labour community and fought against the communal and fascist forces all along his life. It is difficult to fill the void created by his death added Mrs. Bhattal.
Kalia Condoled the death of S. Harkishan Singh Surjit
Chandigarh, July 1: Mr. Manoranjan Kalia, Local Government & Industries Minister Punjab today expressed profound grief and sorrow over the sad demise of the veteran Marxist leader Harkishan Singh Surjit. Who breathed his last today.
Describing him a seasoned Politician Mr. Kalia conveyed his heart felt sympathies to the bereaved family members.
Antony condoles the death of Harkishan Singh Surjeet
The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony has offered his condolences at the passing away of the veteran CPI(M) leader Shri Harkishan Singh Surjeet. Following is the text of his message:
“I’m deeply grieved to learn about the sad passing away of Shri Harkishan Singh Surjeet. In his death, the country has lost a great statesman who believed in pragmatic politics.
The benchmarks set by Shri Harkishan Singh Surjeet through his conduct, sacrifices, spartan life style and writings will inspire generations of politicians and the youth who want to enter public life.
He was a grassroots political leader and played a pioneering role in empowering the peasants in Punjab. As a leader of the Communist Party of India and later the Communist Party of India (Marxist), he played a vital role in defining and shaping their role in the politics of the country for nearly seven decades.
His pivotal role in the formation of the United Progressive Alliance will be remembered for long.
I convey my heartfelt condolences to his family members and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) at this great loss to the country.”
Shri R.S. Pandey takes over as New Petroleum Secretary
Shri R.S. Pandey, IAS(1972 Nagaland) has assumed charge as new Petroleum Secretary here today. Shri Pandey was earlier Secretary, Ministry of Steel, Government of India. On assuming charge he called on the Petroleum Minister Shri Murli Deora and Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas Shri Dinsha Patel.
Shri Pandey took a meeting of the senior officers of the Ministry. He was apprised about the latest issues and challenges in the sector in a presentation made on this occasion. Shri Pandey called for drawing up action points for various critical/important issues facing the sector. Speaking about his challenges in the oil and gas sector, he stated that doing a balancing job in a sector which affects lives of everyone and all sectors of economy was a great challenge in itself. Shri Pandey also said that accelerating domestic exploration and production efforts, ensuring supply of petroleum products alongwith ensuring health of oil PSUs and removing in-efficiencies would be amongst priority areas for him in the sector.
Besides being the Secretary, Ministry of Steel, his key assignments include Secretary, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Additional Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Chief Secretary, Government of Nagaland, etc. Shri Pandey has also served as Joint Secretary in the Department of Education (Ministry of HRD), Govt. of India where his important assignments included being in-charge of District Primary Education Programme(DPEP) and National Programme Director of Basic Education Programme. He was also Joint Secretary in the M/o Welfare, Govt. of India and Secretary, National Council of Education and Research and Training (NCERT). He has also held important positions in his cadre as advisor to Governor of Nagaland, Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department, Director of Education, etc.
Minister of Railways condoles the demise of Shri Harkishan Singh Surjeet
The Minister of Railways, Shri Lalu Prasad has expressed deep grief at the sad demise of veteran CPI (M) leader Shri Harkishan Singh Surjeet who passed away here this afternoon.
In his condolence message, Shri Lalu Prasad said that Shri Harkishan Singh Surjeet devoted his life to the cause of the poor and the downtrodden and earned the admiration of the people for his dedication. Shri Surjeet was instrumental in forming the UPA coalition government at the centre. In his death, the country has lost an eminent personality who always fought for social cause.
Shri Sharad Pawar condoles the death of Shri Harkishan Singh Surjit
Minister of Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Sharad Pawar has condoled the death of veteran Marxist leader, Shri Harkishan Singh Surjit.In his message, Shri Pawar has said:
‘I am deeply grieved to know about the said demise of Comrade Shri Harkishan Singh Surjit at the age of 92 after prolonged illness. He started his political career during the freedom movement at an early age. He joined the Communist Party of India in 1936 and was the co-founder of the Kisan Sabha in Punjab. During the freedom struggle he was imprisoned many times. In the party cadre he rose to become Member, Polit Bureau and was the General Secretary of CPI (M) from 1992-2005. During 1996, he played an active role in national politics and strengthened the democratic and secular forces. He also played a role of a catalyst in facilitating coalition politics in India and was known for his steadfast opposition to communalism. He maintained good relations with all political parties and personalities.
‘In his death we have lost a distinguished freedom fighter and an eminent social and political leader.’
Raghunath JHA condoles the sad demise of Harkishan Singh Surjit
The Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, Shri Raghunath Jha has condoled the death of veteran CPIM leader Harkishan Singh Surjit. The following is the text of his condolence message:
“ I am very much grieved on the sudden demise of Shri Harkishan Singh Surjit Ji. This is an unbearable loss for the whole nation as he was the strength to the progress of the nation. Shri Harkishan Singh Surjit Ji dedicated his whole life for the upliftment of downtrodden and for the betterment of the weaknesses at policy levels of the country.
I pray to the Almighty, may his soul rests in peace and extend consolations to the grieved family and the nation as well.”
Chief Minister Shri Chouhan condoles Shri Surjeet s death
Bhopal:Friday, August 1 : Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan has condoled the death of former general secretary of Communist Party of India (CPM) Shri Harkishan Singh Surjeet . In his condolence message Shri Chouhan said that Shri Surjeet was an able organiser and progressive politician. He made his presence felt in the contemporary political scenario.
Shri Chouhan prayed to the God to give peace to the departed soul and power to his bereaved family to bear this loss.
Governor Dr. Balram Jakhar condoles death of Communist leader Shri Surjeet
Bhopal:Friday, August 1 :Governor Dr. Balram Jakhar has expressed his deep condolences over the death of senior national level Communist leader Shri Harkishan Singh Surjeet . Dr. Jakhar has described Shri Surjeet’s death as an irreparable loss
In his condolence message Governor Dr. Balram Jakhar has said that Shri Harkishan Singh Surjeet, who was a companion of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, was a well wisher of the poor and farmers. Struggling against communal forces, he did the commendable job of bringing all the secular organisations on a common platform. Shri Surjeet gave priority to practical aspects of life side by side principles.
Dr. Jakhar prayed to the God to give peace to the departed soul and strength to his bereaved family to bear this loss.