Kolkata: Former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee today passed away in a Kolkata hospital. He was 89.
He was put on the ventilator and was on a critical condition on Sunday.
Chatterjee, who was admitted in a private hospital on August 10, breathed his last at 8.15 am today. Doctors said he had a cardiac arrest.
On August 10, the 89-year-old was re-admitted to a hospital in Kolkata following kidney ailments. He had suffered a haemorrhagic stroke in June following which his health condition declined.
Condoling his death President Ram Nath Kovind said, "Sorry to hear of the passing away of Shri Somnath Chatterjee, former Lok Sabha Speaker and a veteran parliamentarian who had a forceful presence in the House. A loss for public life in Bengal and India. My condolences to his family and innumerable well-wishers."
"Saddened by the demise of former LS Speaker, Shri Somnath Chatterjee. He was an outstanding Parliamentarian, who was elected to LS 10 times. He was always affable & highlighted people’s problems. He firmly stood by the principles he believed in," tweets Vice President Venkaih Naidu.
PM Modi also tweeted, "Former MP & Speaker Shri Somnath Chatterjee was a stalwart of Indian politics. He made our Parliamentary democracy richer & was a strong voice for well-being of the poor & vulnerable. Anguished by his demise. My thoughts are with his family & supporters."
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said, "Somnath Da (Chatterjee) was a big brother to me. Our ideology was different but still, from the time I entered Parliament in '89, I used to see how he used to raise issues while following every rule. His tenure as a speaker was a guidance for me."
Former Vice President Mohd Hamid Ansari, "He was a very eminent parliamentarian & a man of great erudition, a speaker who added lustre to the chair. In his passing away, we have a lost very eminent personality. He has left behind a void. People will remember him."
Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) said, "Somnath Chatterjee along with many other party leaders had donated his body for medical research. Before that, the mortal remains will be kept at party office where last respects will be paid to him. Then the remains will be taken to West Bengal assembly."
Harivansh Narayan Singh, RS Dy Chairman, "His role as LS speaker & his speeches as a parliamentarian will be an inspiration for coming generations who wish to join politics. Today, when Parliament needs such man of inspiration, his loss is more disheartening."
"I can't believe that he is no more. I knew he is ill but didn't know that this will happen. It is an honour for me that I could sit on the chair (of Lok Sabha Speaker) that he occupied once. He was an amazing person," said Meira Kumar, Former Lok Sabha Speaker.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, "Saddened at the passing away of former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath (Da) Chatterjee. My condolences to his family and admirers. This is a great loss for us all."