There Will Be None Like Jyoti Basu Again, Says Prakash Karat
CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said an era has passed with the death of Marxist veteran Jyoti Basu and that no one can replace him. "Basu was a great leader of the CPI(M), the Left movement and India. With his passing away an era has passed... . "Although he died at the age of 95, he leaves us bereft -- because there will be none like JB again," Karat said in his tribute to the departed leader.
Karat said 70 years of public life and political activity marked him out, at the time of his death, as the most distinguished Left leader of the country.
"An ardent communist, he was one of the few political leaders of independent India who actually deepened democracy, strengthened secularism and got the working people to the centrestage of Indian politics," he said.
As Chief Minister of West Bengal for a record 23 years, his lasting contributions were land reforms, which gave land security to millions of peasants, the revitalisation of Panchayat institutions and the creation of an enduring atmosphere of secularism in the state, he said.
He taught communists how to work and serve the people in Parliamentary forums in order to bring about changes in public policy, Karat said.
Another senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said Basu was a disciplined party member who set an example for all by abiding by the party's decision which rejected a proposal to make him Prime Minister in the 1990s though he was in favour of it.
"Basu was part of a minority in the party which argued that he should be allowed to take up the post of Prime Minister. But he was such a disciplined member that he went with the majority decision," Yechury told reporters here.
He was responding to a question on CPI(M)'s decision not to allow Basu to become the Prime Minister in the United Front government in 1996.
"He set a very rare example. He also stepped down from the post of Chief Ministership due to ill-health and advanced stage but continued to work and discharge his responsibilities till the end of his life," Yechury said.
His death is a "great loss" to the country, Yechury said adding that he was a father figure for the CPI(M) workers. PTI