Kolkata, Mar 3: Veteran Forward Bloc leader Ashok Ghosh, who played a vital role in the formation of the first Left Front government in West Bengal, died here today. He was 94.
A bachelor, Ghosh was admitted to a private hospital here on February 2 with lower respiratory tract infection. Later his condition deteriorated and he was put on ventilator, according to his party.
A veteran in Bengal politics whose political career spanned more than seven decades, Ghosh was known for his spartan lifestyle and used to live in a small room in the party office. He was widely respected across the party lines.
Ghosh was drawn towards politics and freedom struggle after being influenced by the leadership of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, when he left Congress to form his political party Forward Bloc.
It was in 1952 that Ghosh for the first time was elected as the state Secretary of the Forward Bloc. Ghosh gained prominence as a leader who led several mass movements and along with the Communists threw a challenge to the then ruling Congress regime in the state.
Ghosh, along with Marxist stalwarts like late Jyoti Basu and Promod Dasgupta had played a vital role in the formation of the first Left Front government in the state in 1977 which was in power till 2011.
Although Ghosh was a strong advocate of strengthening the Left Front, he never hesitated in criticising the wrong polices of the Left Front. He was critical of land acquisition in Singur by the LF government.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed grief on the passing away of the veteran leader. "Saddened on the passing away of veteran politician Asok Ghosh. Condolences to his family and friends", she tweeted.