Press Statement
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
M K Pandhe
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) expresses profound grief at the passing away of Comrade M.K. Pandhe, Member of the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) and senior most leader of the trade union movement in the country. Pandhe died after suffering a heart attack in a hospital in New Delhi. He was 86 years old.
Comrade Pandhe’s nearly seven decades of public life began as an activist of the student movement and he rose to be one of the outstanding leaders of the working class movement of India. He was the secretary of the Sholapur Students Union in 1943. He joined the Communist Party in 1943. After completing his post-graduation from Pune University he earned his doctorate from the Ghoklae Institute of Politics & Economics.
Pandhe became the Secretary of the Sholapur City Committee of the CPI. He later took an active part in the Goa liberation struggle.
Pandhe made a singular contribution to the trade union movement. As a Secretary of the AITUC working at the Centre in the 1960s, to becoming one of the key leaders of the CITU, Pandhe made his mark as a skilled and dedicated leader of the working class movement. He was the General Secretary of the CITU from 1990 to 1999 and was its president till 2010. He was associated with all the major working class struggles in the country in the last three decades and played an important role in bringing about the unity of the central trade unions.
As a dedicated Marxist-Leninist, Pandhe strove consistently to equip the working class movement with the ideology of socialism and to develop the political consciousness of the workers to enable them to discharge their revolutionary role in social transformation.
Pandhe was a true internationalist and firm in his anti-imperialism who worked constantly for developing the solidarity of the working class movement all over the world.
When the Party split in 1964, Pandhe took a firm stand against revisionism and joined the CPI(M). During his revolutionary life he spent four years and six months underground.
He was elected to the Central Committee of the CPI(M) at the 10th Congress in 1978 and to the Polit Bureau at the 16th Congress in 1998. He remained in these positions till his death.
Pandhe worked tirelessly till the end to develop the working class movement in the country. He commanded respect in all trade union circles. He was a leader who was most accessible to any ordinary worker. He lived a life of utmost simplicity.
The CPI(M) has lost an invaluable leader who was steeped in the Marxist-Leninist tradition and the working class movement. His death is an irreparable loss for the Left movement of the country. The Polit Bureau pays its respectful homage to his memory. The entire Party and the working class movement will always cherish his memory and contributions. The Polit Bureau conveys its heartfelt condolences to his wife and comrade Pramila Pandhe, his son, grandchildren and other family members.