Subrata Mukherjee, a senior leader of Trinamool Congress i.e. TMC and a minister in the Government of West Bengal, will be remembered in history as a person who, apart from being an efficient politician in Bengal politics, has served more than 50 years as an able administrator. By working till he made his special identity. Subrata Mukherjee (75) died at a government hospital in Kolkata on the evening of Diwali due to prolonged illness. He was holding the charge of Panchayat and Rural Development Department in the Government of Bengal. He will be remembered as a person who did a great job in spite of the odd circumstances and in the field of politics, he adapted himself to the changing circumstances with the times and faced every situation. Subrata Mukherjee is also known as Mamta Banerjee’s mentor. Indira Gandhi herself also praised him.
Born in 1946 in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district, Mukherjee was the eldest of five siblings. Known as a stalwart in Bengal politics, Mukherjee’s political career spanned more than five decades, beginning as a student leader in the 1960s. Mukherjee entered politics in 1967 as a student leader of Bangbasi College, when West Bengal had the first non-Congress government. Mukherjee made rapid strides in politics through his organizational ability, eloquence and excellent oratory skills and soon became one of the most popular leaders of the Congress. Mukherjee’s stature in politics was considered equal to that of late Union minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi and former Congress state unit president Somen Mitra.
Congress veteran Priya Ranjan Das Munshi recognized Mukherjee’s organizational potential and likewise gave him a chance to shine. Both the leaders fought political and ideological battles against Naxalites and Leftists in West Bengal and worked to strengthen the roots of Congress. The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi also praised Subrata Mukherjee, impressed by his eloquence and organizational ability. Mukherjee entered electoral politics in 1971 and achieved the distinction of becoming the youngest MLA in West Bengal by winning the election from the Ballygunge assembly seat at the age of 25.
Mukherjee became the youngest minister in Chief Minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray’s cabinet in 1972 after the Congress returned to power in Bengal with an overwhelming mandate. He was made Minister of State for Information and Culture. Despite losing the elections in 1977, Mukherjee’s prestige in the Congress party did not diminish and he continued to grow rapidly. Mukherjee made a comeback in the 1982 assembly elections by winning the Jorbagan seat. He was MLA from Ballygunge seat till the last time of his life. Apart from politics, Mukherjee also tried his hand in the world of acting and worked in a television serial with Mun Mun Sen in the 1980s.
He had joined Trinamool Congress in 1999. His skill as an able administrator was widely praised during his tenure as the Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation from 2000 to 2005. However, in 2005 he left the Trinamool Congress and formed an alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party. The Trinamool Congress suffered heavy losses in the 2005 Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections due to Mukherjee leaving the party. Mukherjee had close relations with the then Chief Minister Jyoti Basu, besides several other leaders of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). He returned to the Trinamool Congress again in 2010 before the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections. Mukherjee also contested the Lok Sabha elections thrice in 2004, 2009 and 2019, but he could not win even once.