New Delhi: CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash
Karat said an era has passed with the death of Marxist veteran
Jyoti Basu and that no one can replace him.
"Basu was a great leader of the CPI(M), the Left movement
and India. With his passing away an era has passed... .
"Although he died at the age of 95, he leaves us bereft
-- because there will be none like JB again," Karat said in
his tribute to the departed leader.
Karat said 70 years of public life and political activity
marked him out, at the time of his death, as the most
distinguished Left leader of the country.
"An ardent Communist, he was one of the few political
leaders of independent India who actually deepened democracy,
strengthened secularism and got the working people to the
centrestage of Indian politics," he said.
As Chief Minister of West Bengal for a record 23 years,
his lasting contributions were land reforms, which gave land
security to millions of peasants, the revitalisation of
Panchayat institutions and the creation of an enduring
atmosphere of secularism in the state, he said.
He taught communists how to work and serve the people in
Parliamentary forums in order to bring about changes in public
policy, Karat said.
Another senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said Basu
was a disciplined party member who set an example for all by
abiding by the party`s decision which rejected a proposal to
make him Prime Minister in the 1990s though he was in favour
"Basu was part of a minority in the party which argued
that he should be allowed to take up the post of Prime
Minister. But he was such a disciplined member that he went
with the majority decision," Yechury told reporters here.
He was responding to a question on CPI(M)`s decision not
to allow Basu to become the Prime Minister in the United Front
government in 1996.
"He set a very rare example. He also stepped down from
the post of Chief Ministership due to ill-health and advanced
stage but continued to work and discharge his responsibilities
till the end of his life," Yechury said.
His death is a "great loss" to the country, Yechury said
adding that he was a father figure for the CPI(M) workers.