Published: 05th November 2021
From student unionist to Indira's close aide to Mamata's mentor: Subrata Mukherjee passes away at 75
The 1970s were turbulent times, but Mukherjee won his legislative assembly seat from the Ballygunge Assembly constituency
Mamata Banerjee might be one of the top political leaders in the country right now but Subrata Mukherjee was the one she considered her mentor. The senior politician and the Panchayats and Rural Development Minister of West Bengal passed away on November 4 at the age of 75.
But Mukherjee donned more than one hat during his political career spanning over half a century. He started off his political career in Kolkata as an activist of the Chhatra Parishad, a student organisation of the Indian National Congress in the 1960s. Mukherjee was not just a graduate of Anthropology and a post-graduate in Archaeology, he was hailed to a great orator and a deft administrator. He grew close to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and was soon dubbed one of her close aides.
The 1970s were turbulent times, but Mukherjee won his legislative assembly seat from the Ballygunge assembly constituency and was appointed the Minister of State of Information and Cultural Affairs and Minister of State for local government. And all this at the age of 25 — he was the youngest MLA and the youngest minister in a Bengal cabinet. He remained with the Congress till 1999 when he shifted to Mamata's All India Trinamool Congress.
But his association with Mamata Banerjee dates back to her Chhatra Parishad days — Mukherjee had proposed Banerjee's name for the 1984 election. He suggested that she contest from the Jadavpur constituency. She went on to defeat CPI (M) stalwart Somnath Chatterjee that year.
Mukherjee became the Mayor of Kolkata in 2000 and continued in that post for the next five years. From 2005 onwards, Mukherjee has been on a topsy turvy trail, aligning with the Nationalist Congress Party, and then going back to the Congress for five years before returning to the TMC in 2010. He won the Ballygaunge seat in 2011 and has been handling the Panchayat Ministry ever since.