Basu to get state honours

Basu to get state honours

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee near former Chief Minister Jyoti Basu's portrait placed at CPI(M) office for people to pay respect to him, in Kolkata on Monday. PTI

The state honour ceremony will be performed by the Army. Even as a stream of mourners queued up before CPIM headquarters and Indira Bhavan, the official residence of Basu here to pay their last respects, Bose announced that there will be no funeral and no last rites.
A portrait of Basu has been placed on a pedestal in front of the party headquarters on Alimuddin Street to enable mourners to pay floral tributes to the departed leader, as West Bengal observes a two-day state mourning from Monday.

Mark of respect

The tricolour flew at half mast, state government offices and almost all private establishments remained closed and roads were almost deserted as a quiet fell over the city and the adjoining districts. Across the state silent mourning processions were taken out.

A motley crowd gathered in front of Central Kolkata’s Peace Haven, the funeral parlour where Basu’s body is being kept for Tuesday’s last journey. Red flags in half mast have been put up all around the parlour, while a red cloth with “Jyoti Basu amar rahe” (Long live Jyoti Basu) written on it was flung near the main gate.

“I will stay here the whole day. I have attended so many of his huge rallies. Listening to him was an inspiration,” said Jaideep Majumdar of Jadavpur, standing before the parlour.
Many of the vernacular dailies played on the word “Jyoti” (which means light). “Jyoti nirbapito” (the light goes out) said one, while another banner headline read: “Jibon Jyoti nibhlo” (The light of life is extinguished). “Bidai” (adieu) said a brief but emotional headline in the  CPM’s Bengali mouthpiece “Ganashakti” with a full page photo of Jyoti Basu, according him the customary communist red salute.

Basu’s body will be taken in procession from “Peace Haven” on Tuesday first to the state secretariat, then the Assembly building and finally to the state-run SSKM Hospital for handover to the hospital authorities.

According to CPM sources, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, BJP leaders L K Advani, Gadkari and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad are expected to fly in on Tuesday to attend the Marxist leader’s “last journey.” 

The party has been awaiting confirmation of Nepalese Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for their arrival here to pay their last respects to Basu. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to arrive on Tuesday.
A  holiday has been declared in the state government offices as a mark of respect to the veteran communist leader. However, banks, financial institutions and Central government offices and undertakings remained open as the holiday was not declared under the Negotiable Instruments Act.

The gun salute, Bose said, will be given to Basu at Mohar Kunj, earlier called Citizens’ Park, located close to the SSKM Hospital premises. All members of the CPM politburo and Central Committee will attend the last journey.

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