A veteran politician who has been in coma for the past eight years has been included in the Congress' campaign list for the April-May West Bengal polls. Former minister and lawmaker Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi's name on the 90-member campaign panel is not entirely a mistake, a Congress leader suggests.
Mr Dasmunsi's name is the 19th on the Bengal campaign committee list.
The 69-year-old has been in the Apollo hospital since 2008, when he suffered a stroke.
Since then, his wife Deepa Dasmunsi has become active in party politics, has contested and won parliamentary polls and was also a union minister in the Congress-led UPA government.
Mrs Dasmunsi is also in the campaign committee as co-chairperson.
Sources say surprised by her husband's name on the campaign panel list, Ms Dasmunsi spoke to the party leadership. The name was removed before the revised list was released late last night.
But was it a mistake or deliberate?
A report in The Indian Express quoted Congress leader CP Joshi as saying: "He (Dasmunsi) is not chairman of the committee. He is a Congress leader, he has goodwill...what is wrong in including his name and using his goodwill in the campaign?"
Mr Joshi was quoted as saying the message to Congress workers is that the party acknowledges its leader.
Mr Dasmunsi, one of the Congress's most popular leaders in West Bengal and a parliamentarian who enjoyed cross-party goodwill, was union Parliamentary Affairs Minister when he suffered a massive stroke that left him paralysed and unable to speak. Blood supply to a part of his brain was cut off, which caused irreversible damage. Reports suggest his body systems are functional but he breathes through a tracheostomy tube attached to his neck and is fed through a tube in his stomach. He is not conscious of his surroundings, a report said.
The family took him to Germany for treatment and is also consulting a UK based hospital.
Last year, the BJP-led government said it would continue to pay for his hospital stay and "would not deny him treatment".