Basu's final journey begins

Basu's final journey begins

The hearse led by a pilot car of the Kolkata Police drove slowly to the CPI(M) party headquarters at Alimuddin Street, a distance of two km, where a large crowd had already gathered behind barricades on both sides of the A J C Bose Road. CPI(M) volunteers, dressed in white, stood in attention with lowered party flags in hand. The body took over half an hour to reach the party office as crowds swelled on roads inspite of the morning chill. When the hearse, decorated with white flowers and red party flags, reached Alimuddin Street, senior CPI(M) leaders greeted it with clenched fist salutes.

The body was taken down from the hearse by CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat, CPI(M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Left Front chairman Biman Bose, Industry minister Nirupam Sen and other senior leaders and placed on a platform. All senior CPI(M) leaders sported a white paper badge with 'Comrade Jyoti Basu Lal Salam' inscribed on it on their chests. After the body was placed on the platform, senior-most member of the CPI(M) in West Bengal, 97-year-old Samar Mukherjee was the first to place a wreath.

He was followed by Karat, Yechury, S R Pillai, M K Pandhe, Brinda Karat and then by central committee members of the party. Basu's body will be later taken to the state secretariat, Writers' Buildings, and then to the Assembly, from where it would set out on its final jouney to the SSKM hospital in the afternoon. Since Basu had donated his body there will be no funeral and it will be handed over to the state-run hospital. The veteran will be given a guard of honour before the body is handed over.

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