Senior RSP leader Abani Roy passes away at 84

Senior RSP leader Abani Roy passes away at 84

Roy passed away at RML Hospital in Delhi

Abani Roy. Credit: Twitter/@airnewsalerts

Veteran RSP leader and former Rajya Sabha MP Abani Roy passed away in a Delhi hospital after ailing for the past few years.

The 84-year-old three-time MP breathed his last at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital here at around 11 AM.

Associated with the RSP since 1959 at the age of 20, Roy was RSP's national face for a long time and has been its Central Secretariat member besides being General Secretary for a brief period.

After his retirement from Parliament and active politics following deteriorating health, he was staying at party MP NK Premachandran's residence in the capital. A bachelor, Roy has been a friendly face with cross-party friendships.

His first foray into electoral politics was in 1978 when he was elected to Kolkata Corporation while he first entered Rajya Sabha in 1998 and retired in August 2011. He was part of the top Left leadership which engaged with the Congress-led UPA when they were supporting the Manmohan Singh government from outside.

"I have many fond memories of him going back to the drafting of the Common Minimum Programme of UPA-1 in May 2004. Terrific sense of humour," Congress Rajya Sabha Chief Whip Jairam Ramesh tweeted recalling his association with Roy.

"I am deeply saddened to hear the shocking news of the death of Abani Roy. I have had a very close association with him since the 1980s. He used to represent the RSP at the meetings of Left parties that used to be held in Delhi," CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said.

Roy was among the first Left leaders who advocated the need for the Left to join hands with the Congress to fight the "fascist forces" like the BJP. RSP entered into an alliance with Congress in Kerala though it remained part of the Left Front in West Bengal.

While RSP was an inalienable part of his life, Roy sent in his resignation from the party in July 2009, the 50th year in the party, after a section of leaders objected to his writing to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that the government should not allow the deal between Bharti Telecom and South African telecom major MTN alleging it was a threat to India's security. His remarks on Reliance were also not taken kindly by the party then.

Roy had said in his resignation letter, "instead of announcing through the national daily...the party comrades should have seen the letter first from me and could have taken follow-up action, if any, including disciplinary action against me." However, later the party did not accept his resignation and the issue died down.

A voracious reader, Roy was also known among leaders for his culinary expertise and his 17, Ferozeshah Road residence was an open house for leaders, party workers and journalists.

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