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Surjeet: Pragmatic king-maker and coalition man

August 01, 2008
Harkishan Singh Surjeet, the pragmatic Marxist leader, who played a key role in keeping the Bharatiya Janata Party out of power in 1996 and helped the Congress form a coalition government at the Centre eight years later, died in Noida on Friday after a prolonged illness.

Ninety-two-year-old Surjeet, who was convalescing at the Metro Hospital in nearby Noida since July 25, breathed his last at 1335 hours, Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat said.

From a revolutionary to a pragmatic politician and a king-maker, Surjeet donned many a role, but his dream of seeing a Communist as prime minister remained unfulfilled despite coming to a sniffing distance.

Known for his skills in managing coalition politics, the former CPI-M general secretary had striven all his life for the party to make inroads into the cow belt to remove its tag as a mere three-state phenomenon and to make it a power to reckon with at the national level.

Also see: CPI-M leader Surjeet dead

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