Noted scholar and the first Finance Minister in the Left Front government in West Bengal Ashok Mitra passed away in a private hospital in Kolkata on Tuesday morning. He was 90.Mitra was suffering for a long time and was admitted to the hospital in April.Besides serving the State Government, he also worked with the Central Government as the Chief Economic Adviser and was a member of Rajya Sabha.Also Read Ashok Mitra: The end of multiple eras A teacher of Economics, who taught in UN Economic Commission, Mitra was also associated with World Bank for many years. He also edited a Bengali magazine till his last days. Mitra was the first Finance Minister in the Left Front government after it came to power in Bengal in 1977 but resigned later following his differences with the Chief Minister Jyoti Basu.One of Bengal’s most prolific columnists, he was known for his deep and critical analysis of society and its politics.He criticized CPI(M) led government’s land acquisition policy during the Nandigram-Singur agitation about a decade back and had warned the Left for annoying its traditional vote place, the peasants.A lifelong Communist, Mitra, during one of his last interviews to The Hindu, said, “death is a great equalizer which finally erases the differences between the rich and the poor.”Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who was often criticized by Mitra, offered her condolence.“Saddened at the passing away of noted economist, former Finance Minister of Bengal and former Rajya Sabha MP, Dr Ashok Mitra. He had a long career with the World Bank, IIM Calcutta and as Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India. Condolences to his family & well wishers,” Ms Banerjee tweeted. Mitra authored many books of which a few, penned decades ago, continue to be in the best seller list.