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Jyoti Basu Dead, Cremation On Tuesday

Marxist patriarch and former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu, who was battling for life in a hospital in Kolkata for the last fortnight, died on Sunday.‘ I have to give you a sad news
PTI January 17, 2010 15:32 IST

Marxist patriarch and former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu, who was battling for life in a hospital in Kolkata for the last fortnight, died on Sunday.

‘ I have to give you a sad news that Jyoti Basu is no longer with us," Biman Bose, the Chairman of the Left Front coordination committee, announced to reporters a little around 1230 hrs.

The cremation of  the CPI(M) veteran will take place on Tuesday, Kolkata Mayor Bikash Bhattacharjee said.

'His body will be taken to funeral parlour, Peace Heaven, from the hospital at 2:00 pm today. The cremation will take place at the Keoratala burning ghat on January 19," Bhattacharjee told PTI.

The eyes of Basu, who had donated them, were removed by doctors of an eye hospital.

The West Bengal government has declared a holiday on Monday as a mark of respect to Basu, the Mayor said.

95-year-old Basu, who had suffered multi-organ failure was on a temporary pacemaker since late last night.

Basu's personal physician Dr Ajit Kumar Maity said that the veteran leader breathed his last at 11:47 am at the

AMRI Hospital where he was admitted with pneumonia on January one. He was put on a ventilator on January six. Basu, who strode the political arena like a colossus for over six decades, is survived by son Chandan. His wifeKamal pre-deceased him four years ago.

A political legend, Basu became the longest serving chief minister of West Bengal for 23 years from 1977 at the head of CPI-M-headed Left Front government.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, who was in the city, rushed to the hospital.

He said, "We have just learnt that Jyoti Basu, formally known as Jyoti Babu, has passed away. He strode like a collosus on the Indian political scene for several decades.He was a great patriot, a great democrat. He lived a full life".

"For the last fortnight, he suffered a lot. The West Bengal government has provided him with the best medical care in the country. We are deeply sad at his passing away.

Describing Jyoti Basu as a powerful regional voice in the national political scene, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh  said he had turned to the veteran Marxist leader on many occasions for his advice on important issues and the response was always pragmatic.

Singh said the death of Basu marked the end of an era in the annals of Indian politics. He was a man of great integrity with a deep commitment to secular values, the Prime Minister said in his condolence message.

'In a political career spanning more than six decades, the veteran communist leader steered his party to power in West Bengal, leaving a legacy of uninterrupted rule by the Left Front that he forged through his leadership and legendary skills in building consensus, " he said.

Observing that during his more than 20 years at the helm of affairs in West Bengal, Basu proved himself to be one of the most able administrators and politicians of independent India, Singh said he was "a powerful regional voice in the national political scene and helped to strengthen Indian federalism."

"Basu will be remembered by the people of West Bengal for bringing stability and order to the State after the turbulent period of the early 70s and for the rural transformation he brought about through his visionary land reforms and his style of democratic and decentralised governance," Singh said.

The Prime Minister, who had called on the ailing Marxist leader in a Kolkata hospital on January 7, said throughout his long career Basu's first priority remained the welfare of ordinary citizens, the workers and the peasants.

"I have personally had a very long association with Basu. On many occasions in my career, I turned to him for his sagacious advice on all matters, whether they related to West Bengal or to issues of national importance.

"His advice was statesmanlike but always pragmatic and based on unshakable values that he championed throughout his political career," Singh said. PTI