PTI, Kolkata: West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra passed away at a city hospital in the early hours of Thursday. He was 78. Mitra was hospitalised a few days aback due to heart and age-related ailments and died following a cardiac arrest. Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi condoled the passing away of Somen Mitra and said that he will be remembered with “love, fondness and respect”. According to a family member of the Congress leader, he was taken to the hospital a few days back for regular health check-up. Mitra had undergone a bypass surgery some years back when he was a Lok Sabha MP. Gaurav Gogoi, Congress MP and All India Congress Committee (AICC) incharge of party affairs in the state, condoled the demise of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC) chief. "My heart goes out to the family of the Lt Somen Mitra. He was a giant of Bengal, and he touched the lives of millions of people in his long journey. My condolences to his family and all those who admired him. His legacy will not be forgotten," Gogoi tweeted. Commonly known as 'Chhorada' (younger brother), Mitra was one of the most firebrand politicians of the 1960s and '70s. He was baptized into the Congress, through student politics in the late sixties. A three-time president of the Congress' West Bengal unit from 1992-1996, 1996-1998 and then again from September 2018, Mitra was a seven-term MLA from the Sealdah assembly constituency. He left the Congress in 2008 to form his political outfit Pragatisheel (Progressive) Indira Congress. He later merged his outfit with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and won the election on a TMC ticket from the Diamond Harbour parliamentary seat that year. Mitra quit the TMC in 2014 to rejoin the Congress.