Gurudas Dasgupta raised people’s issues in Parliament

A M Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on October 31, 2019

File Photo of veteran CPI leader and former MP Gurudas Dasgupta.   -  PTI

As a member of Parliament for about three decades, Gurudas Dasgupta targeted every attempt of the governments at the Centre to privatise or disinvest public sector enterprises. He exposed cronyism in policy making and raised such matters vehemently in Parliament.

The 83-year-old veteran trade unionist vociferously fought for workers and common people in Parliament. He raised many issues of corruption in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha during his tenure starting from 1985. As general secretary of AITUC, one of the largest trade unions in the country, he was a force behind forming a platform of all central trade unions—of which even Sangh Parivar’s BMS was a part though for a short period.

During the UPA II, he gave tough times for Manmohan Singh Government on issues such as 2G spectrum and gas pricing. He was a sharp critic of the economic policies of the Centre. “The Government has failed to generate resources. The Government has failed to stimulate savings. The Government has failed to promote jobs. The Government has failed to stimulate the economy. The Government has failed to bring about a turn around of the economy by spending more. The point is that when there is a need for spending more to take care of the crisis, there is contraction in the expenditure by the Government,” he said in 2013 while participating in a debate on the state of economy in Lok Sabha.

He maintained that the gas pricing was "gigantic scam benefitting Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Ltd crores of rupees." He fought against it even in the Supreme Court and attacked the then Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily in and outside Parliament over the matter. He said it will result in increasing the price of fertilizers and other input materials for farming.

As an active member of various Parliamentary panels, he ensured that gas pricing mechanism is debated there. On 2G issue too, he confronted the then government. He did not approve the JPC report on 2G scam.

During AB Vajpayee regime too, he was instrumental in raising the activities of the Disinvestment Ministry in Rajya Sabha. On Gujarat riots and other communal issues too, he took a strident stand against the Vajpayee regime.

Leaders from various sides of the political spectrum paid homage to Dasgupta. “Shri Gurudas Dasgupta Ji was one of the most committed and articulate proponents of his ideology. He was a strong voice in Parliament, whose interventions were keenly heard across the political spectrum. Saddened by his passing away. May his soul rest in peace," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Twitter.

Dasgupta was offered the post of general secretary of the CPI on several occasions, but he was happy in leading the party’s 100-year-old trade union, AITUC. “The Party sends it condolences to the bereaved members of his family and will be observing three-day mourning,” a CPI press statement said. “Comrade Gurudas Dasgupta played important role in broadening the united platform of trade unions to lead the working class struggle against neoliberal economic policy regime,” said CITU general secretary Tapan Sen.

Published on October 31, 2019

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