The CPI(M) MP was a leading organiser of the peasantry in West Bengal

NEW DELHI: Veteran freedom fighter and CPI(M) MP Mehboob Zahedi died here on Saturday morning after a brief illness, party officials said. He was 77 and is survived by his wife and two sons. Mr. Zahedi breathed his last at his official residence in North Avenue, days after being discharged from the All India Institute of Medical Science.

The veteran peasant leader was elected to the Lower House for the fourth time in a row from the Katwa constituency in West Bengal, representing it since the 11th Lok Sabha.

Ex-INA soldier

A former soldier of Netaji Subhash Bose's Indian National Army, Mr. Zahedi had fought British forces under the leadership of Gen. Shahnawaz Khan.

Varied facets

Besides being a leading organiser of the peasantry in West Bengal, Mr. Zahedi was also associated with the Left cultural movement and the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA).

His body was flown to Kolkata and will be taken to Burdwan for last rites.

A personal loss: Somnath

Our New Delhi Special Correspondent writes: Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Saturday expressed shock and deep sorrow over the death of Mr. Zahedi.

Describing it as a personal loss, Mr. Chatterjee, in his condolence message, said he had the privilege of being a colleague of Mr. Zahedi, who fought for the country's freedom as a soldier in the Azad Hind Fauj (INA), both in the Party, and in the 12th, 13th and 14th Lok Sabhas.

"The invaluable services rendered by Comrade Zahedi in the various capacities as a Minister in the West Bengal Government, as a Member of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly, as a Member of Parliament and as a member of various Parliamentary Committees will be remembered for long," he said.