Former BJP MP passes away at the age of 65...PM Modi and a Congress leader pay tribute!

Former BJP MP Chandan Mitra has passed away on Wednesday at the age of 65 in Delhi. Mitra, who was also a journalist, had been suffering from illness for the past few months. He was considered to be close to BJP stalwart LK Advani and after learning about his demise, several national leaders including the President and the Prime Minister had paid tribute to the departed soul and expressed condolences to the family members.

Chandan Mitra was the editor of 'The Pioneer' newspaper till June this year and his son Kushan Mitra took to Twitter and confirmed the demise. He wrote, "Since it is already out there; Dad passed away late last night (Wednesday). He had been suffering for a while." Chandan Mitra had served as the BJP MP in Rajya Sabha. He was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha from August 2003 to August 2009 and he was elected to another term in the Rajya Sabha as a BJP MP from Madhya Pradesh in June 2010 and served till June 2016. 

A native of Howrah in West Bengal, Chandan Mitra had quit the BJP in 2018 and joined Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress. Before joining Mamata's camp, Mitra was a staunch critic of Trinamool Congress and went on to blame the party as a reign of terror. Mitra was an alumnus of St. Stephen's College, Delhi where he met veteran Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. Both had become great friends and Mitra was the campaign manager for Tharoor's successful campaign to become the president of the college's student union. 

In 1984, Mitra was conferred with a doctorate degree at Oxford University and he began his career in Journalism as Assistant Editor with 'The Statesman' in Kolkata and he then worked in Times of India and The Sunday Observer in Delhi. He later moved to the Hindustan Times as Executive Editor and from there, he joined The Pioneer as Editor, the post that he held till June this year. Mitra is married to Shobori Ganguli and the couple had two sons. 

Several national leaders have been paying tribute to the departed soul. President Ram Nath Kovind took to Twitter and wrote, "Shri Chandan Mitra was an outstanding journalist and his stint as a parliamentarian added to his reputation. His understanding of Hindi heartland and its history was profound. His demise leaves a void in Indian journalism. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends." Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said, "Deeply saddened by the demise of former Rajya Sabha Member & veteran journalist, Shri Chandan Mitra. He was an erudite &highly respected journalist and parliamentarian. His death is a personal loss to me. Om Shanti!" 

In his tribute note, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote, "Shri Chandan Mitra Ji will be remembered for his intellect and insights. He distinguished himself in the world of media as well as politics. Anguished by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti." BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta had shared a throwback picture of Chandan Mitra, which was taken during their school trip in 1972. Dasgupta wrote," I lost my closest friend—editor of Pioneer & former MP Chandan Mitra—this morning. We were together as students of La Martiniere & went on to St Stephen’s & Oxford. We joined journalism at the same time & shared the excitement of Ayodhya & the saffron wave."

"I am posting a photograph of Chandan Mitra and me together during a school trip in 1972. Be happy my dear friend wherever you are. Om Shanti", Dasgupta added. Veteran Congress leader Shashi Tharoor wrote, "Deeply saddened by this news. Chandan was my campaign manager in my successful race to be President of the St Stephen’s College Union Society, served in my Cabinet & succeeded me. We remained in touch over the years, ironically till I returned to Delhi& politics separated us. RIP".