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Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee dies of cardiac arrest at 89

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee died on Monday morning in Kolkata days after he was admitted to hospital with a kidney ailment.

He was 89 years old.

Somnath Chatterjee, who was admitted to Belle Vue hospital on August 8, was put on ventilator support after he suffered a heart attack. Doctors said he was “stable” after he was put on ventilator support.

His condition turned critical on Sunday evening.

The 10-time parliamentarian had been frequently hospitalised for the last two months. Doctors said he was undergoing dialysis.

Last month, the former Speaker had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. After his condition improved, he was discharged from the hospital. But three days later, on Tuesday, he had to be hospitalised again.

“In such cases it happens at times that the heart stops giving support. Chatterjee suffered a mild heart attack this morning, but was revived. He is in the ICU and is responding to treatment,” news agency Press Trust of India quoted a doctor as saying.

Veteran politician Somnath Chatterjee joined the CPI(M) in 1968 and remained its leader till 2008.

A 10-time member of the Lok Sabha, Somnath Chatterjee became the 14th Speaker of the Lok Sabha in 2004 when the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh came to power. He served as the Speaker of Lower House till 2009.

However, he was expelled from the party in 2008 by general secretary Prakash Karat when he refused to resign as Speaker after CPI(M) and other left parties withdrew support to the government over the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Somnath Chatterjee, who has represented Burdwan, Jadavpur and Bolpur parliamentary constituencies from 1971 to 2009, was only defeated in 1984 by the present chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee, who was then in the Congress.

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