Basu, guiding force for State leaders

CPI(M) leader has fans in all parties

Political leaders in Bangalore on Sunday recalled their association with Basu and were unanimous in their opinion that his influence extended far beyond his home state of West Bengal.

Two-time CPI(M) legislator G V Srirama Reddy said he first met Basu when the veteran leader had visited Bangalore in 1971.

“I was a PU student and Basu was the Deputy Chief Minister of West Bengal. He interacted with us patiently and was humble to the core. His simplicity and charm has been a guiding and inspiring force for us for decade”, he recalls.

Srirama Reddy recalled that on another occasion, in 1981, he had accompanied Basu on a visit to Kodagu from Bangalore. “Basu had taken over as CM of West Bengal. On the way to Kodagu we were passing through Maddur, when I reminded him about the famous Maddur vadas. Even as I was suggesting that we get him a parcel of the vadas to his car, Basu stepped out of the vehicle, walked to the hotel counter and placed order for the vadas for all of us,” he said.

CPI(M) State Secretary VGK Nair recalled former chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde had sought the guidance of Basu before finalising the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act.
He visited the State on several occasion to fight for the cause of plantation workers and railway employees, Nair said.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa termed Basu’s rejection of the office of PM in 1996 as a “rarity in the contemporary power-hungry political situation.”

Following Basu’s rejection, the PM post fell on to the lap of JD(S) president H D Deve Gowda. “The country will sorely miss his wise counsel. Basu played a prominent role in my becoming prime minister,” Gowda said.

KPCC President R V Deshpande said Basu was a leader committed to the weaker sections of society.

Meanwhile, the State government is yet to decide whether a one-day State mourning should be announced on Tuesday when his mortal remains will be kept at the West Bengal State Assembly premises for the public to pay their homage.

“We are awaiting direction from the Centre in this regard,” DPAR sources said.

- Participated in the Bangalore railway employees’ agitation during freedom struggle
- Fought for the rights of Raja Mill and Ramkumar Textile employees in Bangalore in 1971
- Campaigned for local body polls in the State in 1981
- Participated in CPI(M) Central Committee meetings held in Bangalore in 1973, 1993 and 2002
- Took part in a public rally in Malleswaram in 2003.

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