Govt, Opposition pay tributes to former CM in Assembly – uday basu
Kolkata, 8 July
Towards the fag end of his life Jyoti Basu was trying to build bridges with the Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee and even went against his party-led government’s stand on the Singur small car project to support Miss Banerjee’s proposal of finding an alternative land for the project at Dankuni.
Then chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and his industry minister Nirupam Sen rushed to Basu’s residence to convince him that Miss Banerjee’s proposal was not feasible.
The project eventually got scrapped and the acrimony between the ruling Marxists and Opposition Trinamul was exacerbated.
On his birth centenary today Basu became both a unifying and a divisive force for the two sworn enemies.
For, in his multi-faceted political career the ruling Trinamul found many things worth emulating which made its leaders share the same platform with the Marxists in the state Assembly to pay tribute to him. At the same time both the rivals recalled Basu’s "landmark” initiatives that brought out “glaring” differences between them as well.
Assembly Speaker Biman Bandopadhyay said Basu was truly a national leader who “elevated” the CPI-M to the national level. Trinamul MP Sougata Roy said Basu had the qualities of a statesman for which Indira Gandhi used to seek his advice on momentous issues confronting the nation.
Former Lok Sabha Speaker and expelled CPI-M leader Somnath Chatterjee recalled for Basu politics was “the best method of serving the people." But, soon Trinamul leaders and the Marxists found in Basu ammunition to attack each other with.
State minister Partha Chatterjee said Basu had criticised his party’s course of action in Singur. Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said at a party programme to mark the event that Basu had shown Marxists were no enemies of democracy. “But, under the Trinamul regime even the state election commission is under attack,” he said. He also said Basu had never sought to curtail freedom of the Press, while the new government was targeting the media and even discriminating against a section of them.
CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat said Basu had played a key role in the decentralisation of power through the panchayati raj system which “is being scuttled” by the Trinamul-government.
If the state government’s refusal to invite Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to the programme in the Assembly was a deliberate attempt to belittle him, the Trinamul-government also made it clear it would go up to a point to honour Basu and no portrait of his was garlanded at Writers’ Buildings in a marked departure from a trend the new government has begun.
Playwright DL Roy, Nepali poet Bhanubhakta Acharya, Uttam Kumar and Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay will have the “honours” later this month.