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Geeta Mukherjee passes away


NEW DELHI, MARCH 4. Veteran Communist leader, Ms. Geeta Mukherjee, 76, died here this morning following a massive heart attack. Popularly known as `Geetadi', the veteran MP who won every Lok Sabha election from Panskura in West Bengal since 1980, was in the forefront till the last.

The end came suddenly when she was preparing to leave for Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh for a party programme.

- PTI

A shining example of women's empowerment

Our Special Correspondent reports:

The veteran CPI leader and senior Lok Sabha member, Mrs. Geeta Mukherjee, was active inside and outside Parliament until the last. On Friday in the Lok Sabha she was in the forefront of the Opposition protest on the Bihar developments.

During the last three years she had actively campaigned for the bill providing 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.

As Chairperson of the Joint Select Committee on one- third reservation of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and Assemblies she is credited with pioneering work.

She was vice-president of the National Federation of Indian Women. The President, Mr. K.R. Narayanan, the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Vice-President, Mr. Krishan Kant, and the Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr. G. M. C. Balayogi, were among the galaxy of leaders who mourned her death and paid rich tributes to her memory.

The leaders recalled her affable personality, simplicity, honesty, commitment and sincerity as outstanding features of her life and times.

As the Prime Minister put it, ``Mrs. Mukherjee embodied determination and dedication. She was a shining example of women's empowerment. Her life shall remain an inspiration for future generations, especially women''.

Several friends of Mrs. Mukherjee who had assembled to pay their homage to the departed leader told the Prime Minister, when he came to pay his last respects, that adoption of the bill on women's reservation would be a fitting tribute to her memory.

Born on January 8, 1924, Mrs. Mukherjee joined the freedom struggle while studying at Ashutosh College, Calcutta as a student activist of the All-India Students Federation and joined the CPI at the age of 15.

She was secretary of Bengal Provincial Students union from 1947 to 1951. She married Biswanath Mukherjee, the legendary Communist leader of Bengal in 1942.

Imprisoned several times during the freedom struggle and for her role in mass movements in the post-independence period, Mrs. Mukherjee was elected to the West Bengal Assembly in 1967 and 1972.

She was first elected to Lok Sabha from Midnapore district in 1980 and has continuously represented the constituency in every election held after.

Mrs. Mukherjee had a keen interest in literature. She penned `Bharat Upakatha', `Chotoder Ravindranath' and `He Atit Katha Kao'in Bengali and translated `Naked Among Wolves' into Bengali.

In its tribute, the CPI national council said ``in the death of Geeta Mukherjee the country has lost an ardent champion of the toiling masses particularly the women.

It is an irreparable loss to the Communist movement in the country. The National Council of CPI dips the red banner in memory of the departed leader and sends heartfelt condolences to all party members and the bereaved family''.

Basu condoles death

PTI reports from Calcutta:

In his condolence message, the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr. Jyoti Basu, recalled his close association with Ms. Mukherjee and said she would always be remembered for her relentless work for the poor and downtrodden.

In Hyderabad, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu, said, Ms. Mukherjee had been in the forefront fighting for the cause of the empowerment of women and reservations for them in Parliament and State legislatures.

Mr. Naidu conveyed his heartfelt sympathies to the members of the bereaved family.

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