By Tapas dey
August 3, 2017: Former union minister and seven time MP from Silchar in Cachar and West Tripura, breathed his last on Tuesday morning in a private nursing home in his home-town in Silchar, after suffering years of old age ailments . But his death has left a void in northeastern region’s Congress politics which will be hard to fulfill. A former sports person and certified football referee, Santosh Mohan had joined politics in 1980 at the persuasion of just-retired president Pranab Mookherjee and become an elected MP from his home constituency in Sichar. Subsequently his political career registered a steep rise as Deb held a large number of central ministerial portfolios as confidante of stalwarts like Arun Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi. Deb’s last stint as minister was during 2004-2009 when he held the crucial portfolios of heavy industry and public enterprises. But ,having lost the Lok Sabha polls of 2009 he had gradually receded from limelight and steadily fell sick and bed-ridden.
But Tripura still remembers Santosh Mohan Deb as the architect of Congress-TUJS coalition’s assembly election victory in 1988. The way Deb had slowly but steadily launched the campaign from 1986 and gave it momentum through meticulous care, was an example of political strategy making and tactical moves. His master-stroke was the selection of the best possible candidates with the highest winning potential that proved decisive. After the election Santosh Mohan Deb was subjected to criticism by the CPI (M) but the Marxists , as always, had never seen through their own chinks and alienation of voters from them. Deb had won the successive elections to loksabha in 1989 and 1991 from Tripura and became minister for steel and other portfolios later on.
But he is best remembered and respected in Tripura for his generous hearted help to all and sundry. All through his association with Tripura no person from the state including rich businessmen and lawyers was ever denied help. For his stupendous efforts and success in winning the 1988 assembly polls Santosh Mohan was rewarded by Rajiv Gandhi with the setting up of the central university in Silchar, a longstanding . Santosh Mohan had also an eye for development and Tripura could have benefited from this but the continuance of left front in power since 1993.
Santosh Mohan was perhaps the tallest Bengali Congress leader from the northeastern region and he fought for the region and his people. His death left a void which will never be fulfilled in the near future. Kudos to Santosh Mohan , a great hearted man and votary of development and amity and unity.