Veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, who was in coma since 2008, died on Monday at Apollo Hospital here, doctors said. He was 72.
"He died at 12.10 p.m. today (Monday). He had been critically ill for the past one month and unfortunately succumbed to his illness," said Apollo Hospital in a statement.
He is survived by his wife Deepa Dasmunsi and son Priyadeep Dasmunsi who were at his bedside at the time of his passing, it said.
Dasmunsi had suffered a brain stroke in 2008 and was admitted to AIIMS. Later he was shifted to home, and in 2009 he was admitted to Apollo Hospital here.
The stroke left him paralysed and unable to speak. Blood supply to a part of Dasmunsi's brain was cut off causing irreversible damage. All basic life functions like breathing, blood pressure, sleep-awake cycle were stable but he was not conscious of his surroundings.
He was a Member of Parliament from 1999 to 2009. He served as the Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Minister of Information and Broadcasting from 2004 to 2008, during the first term of the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government.
Dasmunsi represented the Raiganj (Lok Sabha constituency) in West Bengal, which was later represented by his Deepa. He had begun his political career with the Indian Youth Congress before entering Parliament in 1971. In 2014, the Trinamool Congress roped in his brother Satyaranjan Dasmunsi to face-off against Deepa.
Dasmunsi's popularity among Congress supporters was such that his name was included in the 90-member campaign committee for the West Bengal Assembly elections in 2016.
He in 2006 became the first Indian to be a match commissioner in a FIFA World Cup game when he performed the role in a group stage game between Australia and Croatia in the 2006 World Cup.
Dasmunsi was heading the Indian football governing body at the time of his stroke in 2008, which led to Praful Patel taking over as president.