End of an era: Left and Indian political colossus Jyoti Basu passes away

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Kolkata, Jan 17 (ANI): Veteran Marxist leader and former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu died at the AMRI Hospital of multiple-organ failure at 11.47 a.m. on Sunday. He was 95.

"Jyoti Basu is no more," said party state secretary Biman Bose.

Basu was admitted to the hospital on January 1 with acute respiratory failure bordering on pneumonia. He was also undergoing treatment at the hospital for age-related ailments.

Born on July 8, 1914, Jyoti Kiran Basu's name was shortened by his father to Jyoti.

In 1996, Basu seemed all set to become the first Communist Prime Minister of India. However, the CPI (M) Politburo decided not to participate in the government, a decision that Basu later termed as a historic blunder.

Basu was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1946, contesting the Railway constituency. He served as Leader of Opposition for a long time when Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy was the Chief Minister of West Bengal.

Basu's admirable eloquence both as an M.L.A and the Leader of Opposition drew the attention of Dr. B. C. Roy, who had a strong affection for this young leader though his stand was completely against the policies of the then State Government.

He led several agitations against the State Government and earned an enviable reputation as a politician, particularly among students and youth.

Beside organising the movements of railway labourers, he led a historical movement of teachers who were protesting against their meagre salary.

Between 1967 and 1969, Basu was the Deputy Chief Minister of West Bengal in the United Front governments. He worked under Chief Minister Ajay Mukhopadhay.

When the Congress returned to power in West Bengal in 1972 under Siddhartha Shankar Ray, Basu faced defeat in the Baranagar Assembly Constituency and complained about unprecedented rigging. His Party CPI (M), decided to boycott the Assembly till a fresh election was conducted in 1977.

From June 21, 1977 to November 6, 2000, Basu served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal of various Left Front governments. In 1996, Basu almost became of Prime Minister of India.

Basu resigned as Chief Minister of West Bengal in 2000 for health reasons, and was succeeded by fellow CPI (M) politician Buddhadeb Bhattacharya.

The 18th Congress of CPI (M), held in Delhi in 2005, re-elected Basu to its Politburo, although he had asked to be allowed to retire from it. On September 13, 2006, Basu entreated the CPI (M) to allow his retirement due to his age, but the resign was turned down.

At the 19th Congress in early April 2008, Basu was not included in the Politburo, although he remained a member of the Central Committee and was designated as Special Invitee to the Politburo. (ANI)

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