New Delhi, Aug 2 (PTI) Describing West Bengal PCC chief Somen Mitra as a "beacon of strength" and an inspiration for the party, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday said his death was a personal loss for her.

In a condolence letter to Mitra's wife Shikha, Gandhi said his was a life of service and compassion for those in need and distress, and warmth towards all of humanity.

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Mitra died at a Kolkata hospital on July 30 due to heart and age-related ailments. He was 78.

"His (Mitra's) passing is a great personal loss for the Congress party and for me personally all the more so because he went too young, when he had so much more to give to the nation and to the people of West Bengal. We will always honour his memory," Gandhi said.

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"I am confident you and your son will carry forward Somen Da's legacy of selfless service and belief in the principles of democracy, secularism and social justice that he always defended with such passion," she said in her letter to Shikha Somen.

"Somen-da was a beacon of strength and inspiration for the Congress party, a generous mentor to the young generation, and much beloved by the people he served with such dedication and sincerity throughout his political life," she added.

A three-time president of the Congress's West Bengal unit, from 1992-1996, 1996-1998 and then again from September 2018, Mitra was a seven-term MLA from Sealdah.

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