Jyoti Basu emerged as a legend in his lifetime: CPI-M mouthpiece


New Delhi : Paying tributes to its founder editor Jyoti Basu, People’s Democracy, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Thursday termed as “unprecedented” the “spontaneous outpouring of grief and solidarity” on his death.

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In an editorial titled “Lal Salam Comrade Founder Editor”, it paid tribute to Basu, who died Jan 17 at age 95, in its latest issue.

The CPI-M mouthpiece said: “The spontaneous outpouring of grief and solidarity was truly unprecedented.”

“The sea of humanity that flooded the streets of Kolkata was the most moving homage that Bengal paid to one of its greatest sons.

“This acquired a national stature with the leaders of the entire political spectrum in the country hailing Jyoti Basu as one of the greatest sons of India,” it said.

The editorial recalled the Communist revolutionary’s personal and political history.

“Jyoti Basu emerged as a legend in his own lifetime. He remains the longest serving chief minister of any state in independent India.”

“These 23 years could have been many more but for the fact that Comrade Jyoti Basu voluntarily decided to step down since he felt (neither the administration nor the people) that he was no longer able to devote sufficient time to discharge the responsibilities of being the chief minister as he was accustomed to,” it said.

“This, in itself, is unprecedented in the history of India’s bourgeois political parties. He accomplished this by ensuring a smooth transition, by enlisting the support of the party and the people,” the editorial said.

The first issue of the People’s Democracy was published on June 27, 1965.

Jyoti Basu’s indomitable fighting spirit that he displayed all his life was there to be seen in death as well, it said.

“People’s Democracy pays its heartfelt homage to its founder editor, renewing our pledge to carry forward ‘our mission’,” it concluded.

Basu, who almost became India’s prime minister in 1996, was the country’s longest serving chief minister. He presided over West Bengal from 1977 till 2000.