Press Esc to close
Thursday 17 August 2017
News updated at 2:53 AM IST

Basu's Long March ends

Last updated: 17 January, 2010
Prasanta Paul, Kolkata, Jan 17, DHNS: 1:33 IST

Body to be donated to state-run hospital tomorrow as per his wishes

Jyoti Basu, the colossus who gave Indian Communism a new identity by dovetailing Marxism with a rare brand of pragmatism, passed away here on Sunday, losing his fortnight-long battle against pneumonia and resultant multiple organ failure.

End of an era: Jyoti Basu . AFPHe was 95 and is survived by son Chandan. Basu’s wife Kamala died four years ago. The end of an era came at 11:47 am at a private hospital where he was being treated following multiple health complications since January 1 this year.

While much of Bengal lionised him, Basu, also called Jyoti Babu, leaves a mixed legacy that his successor Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is finding hard to keep together. Yet, even as Basu fades from view, he retains a vital place in the public consciousness here. To many he was an ideal leader, a quality against which his political successors are measured and often found wanting.

Basu, who held an enviable record of being the country’s longest-serving chief minister, came within a whisker of becoming India’s first ever communist prime minister. But his party — the CPM — scuppered his chances, a decision he later denounced as a historic blunder.

The communist patriarch, who relinquished the office of chief minister in November 2000 after an uninterrupted tenure of 23 years, having stridden the political stage for over six decades, was in and out of hospitals over the last two years. A sudden deterioration in health condition early this month saw him being put on pace-maker, haemo-dialysis and ventilator.

But unlike the political battle which he won with elan umpteen number of times, Basu had to yield to this last and final battle against life before lapsing into coma. “I have a sad announcement to make. Jyoti Basu is no more with us,” an emotional Left Front chairman and CPM politburo member Biman Bose broke the news at the gates of AMRI hospital.
Next to Bose was Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who appeared distraught and hardly broke his silence.

Basu was elected to the Bengal legislative Assembly in 1946, contesting the Railway Constituency. In 1967 and 1969, Basu became deputy chief minister of West Bengal in the United Front government. From June 21, 1977 to November 6, 2000, Basu served as the chief minister for the Left Front government.

The news of Basu’s death almost shook the city out of its Sunday stupor as hundreds of thousands of mourners thronged the roads as the charismatic leader’s body was taken to Peace Haven, a private funeral parlour, where it will remain in state for people to pay homage. Basu’s eyes, which he had pledged to donate some years back, were removed by doctors at an eye hospital.

Basu’s son businessman Chandan, daughter-in-law Rakhi and grand-daughters Payel, Doyel and Koyel were at the hospital before the procession with the leader’s body started for Peace Haven.

Leaders pay tributes


President Pratibha Patil, Vice- President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram and leaders across the entire political spectrum condoled Basu’s demise.

The CPM, which he founded along with several others in 1964 when the CPI split, expressed profound grief at his death and called him one of the tallest leaders of the communist movement.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, CPM leader Prakash Karat and wife Brinda Karat, veteran Forward Bloc leader Ashok Ghosh and a host of Left leaders visited the hospital on Sunday.

A pall of gloom descended on the city as grief-stricken supporters and admirers lined up in hordes at the hospital to pay their last respects to the departed leader. The road leading to AMRI hospital in Salt Lake was closed to traffic by the police who were deployed in large numbers.

Mourning Basu, Somnath Chatterjee said he had lost a father figure.
“When things started to go bad (in Left front), he was sad. He was sad about what happened with me. I used to consult him on all matters.”

Addressing newspersons at the state party headquarters here, Biman Bose clarified that Basu will not be cremated but his body will be handed over on Tuesday to the state-run hospital SSKM as he had pledged to donate his body.

According to him, a host of CPM leaders and politburo members from various states, other party leaders and dignitaries from India and abroad were expected to fly into the city on Monday to pay their last respects to Basu.

“After leaders and people offer their condolence on Monday, Basu’s body will be taken in a procession on Tuesday to the Writers’ Building (state secretariat) and then to the state Assembly before it is handed over to the SSKM Hospital authorities,” Bose said. The West Bengal government has declared Monday a holiday as a mark of respect to Basu.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
A street memorial is lit during a candlelight vigil for Elvis Presley in front of Graceland...

A street memorial is lit during a candlelight vigil for Elvis Presley in front of Graceland...

Festival goers participate in a color party at the 25th Sziget (Island) Festival...

Festival goers participate in a color party at the 25th Sziget (Island) Festival...

Manchester City's Phil Foden, right, duels for the ball during the Costa Brava trophy friendly...

Manchester City's Phil Foden, right, duels for the ball during the Costa Brava trophy friendly...

A zoo keeper holding the 2.5-month old Borneo Orangutan baby 'Hujan' in her arms in Krefeld...

A zoo keeper holding the 2.5-month old Borneo Orangutan baby 'Hujan' in her arms in Krefeld...

Border Security Force (BSF) personnel wave the Tricolor and perform Bhangra as they...

Border Security Force (BSF) personnel wave the Tricolor and perform Bhangra as they...

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah...

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah...

A model walks the ramp during Lakme Fashion Week displaying Ritu Kumar's collection in Mumbai...

A model walks the ramp during Lakme Fashion Week displaying Ritu Kumar's collection in Mumbai...

: Flood-affected villagers commute to safer places using a boat at Morigaon district in Assam...

: Flood-affected villagers commute to safer places using a boat at Morigaon district in Assam...

Monkeys playing with a water pipe near Vijay Chowk in New Delhi on Wednesday

Monkeys playing with a water pipe near Vijay Chowk in New Delhi on Wednesday

Flamingoes preening in their enclosure at the zoo in Duisburg, Germany, 16 August 2017.

Flamingoes preening in their enclosure at the zoo in Duisburg, Germany, 16 August 2017.

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.