'I have violated party discipline' : Jyoti Basu

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Kolkata, Apr 11(UNI) Stunning the rank and file with a candid admission, CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu today said he had violated party discipline by calling for induction of his protege, West Bengal Transport Minister Subhash Chakraborty, into the Central Committee and the state secretariat.

''Whatever I have said about Subhash is against party discipline.

This tantamounts to breaking party discipline and I have made that mistake. I should not have done it,'' the 94-year-old veteran told reporters before the state secretariat meeting here.

''Whatever I had to say should have been said in the party, but I cannot say it outside,'' he said.

Mr.Basu, known for his stoicism, however, did not elaborate further and got into his car with his usual straight face.

In his twilight years, the CPI(M) father figure was very recently made a permanent invitee in the Polit Bureau at the Coimbatore party Congress as he kept pleading for being relieved of the full time reponsibility because of failing health.

While the party leadership still appeared to be too enamoured of his charishma to let him become a political recluse, Mr.Basu did not seem to be happy at the non-inclusion of Mr.Chakraborty, a CPI(M) maverick, in the new Central Committee that accommodated Housing Minister Gautam Deb and others far junior to him.

A berth either in the Central Committee or in the state secretariat continued to elude Mr.Chakraborty, considered to be a political 'guru' of several party stalwarts, including Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, for decades.

Mr.Basu said on April eight that he wanted Mr.Chakraborty to be inducted into the Central Committee.

''I want him to be inducted into the state secretariat also,'' he said. His remark raised speculations over the possibility of the veteran leader putting pressure on the party for taking Mr.

Chakraborty in the new state secretariat, expected to be constituted after the Panchayat elections next month.

Party MP and Politbureau member Sitaram Yechury had said soon after the former chief minister's public stance that Mr.Basu was at liberty to raise the issue at the Central Committee meeting as one of its members and as a special invitee in the Polit Bureau.

While Mr.Basu's open canvassing for Mr.Chakraborty created a flutter in the political circle, his voluntary admission of breaking party discipline also left one gaping.

On two occasions over the past week Mr. Basu got embroiled in controversy--first when he obliquely criticised the state party unit of mishandling the Nandigram imbroglio where it had not interacted with the opposition and the second was his declaration to the media that he wanted his protege Subhas Chakraborty in the party's central committee.

Mr.Chakraborty, who had always proclaimed Mr.Basu as his 'leader', said he was extremely grateful to the party veteran for speaking his mind. He even said that the CPI(M) had a penchant of promoting those leaders in the party hierarchy ''who are liked''.

On Wednesday, the minister likened Basu to his God. He said that Basu's backing was the greatest gift he ever had. ''If the concept of God exists, I would consider Jyoti babu to be my God. When he talked of my inclusion in the two committees, I got the greatest gift of my life,'' he was quoted as saying.

UNI KDG PL KLC1738

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