The first death anniversary of Jyoti Basu, a stalwart of the Communist movement in India, was observed in a sombre ceremony at his Salt Lake residence here on Monday even as tributes flowed in through the day.

Addressing an event in Durgapur in Bardhaman district, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat spoke about the “Champion of the working class” and of the need to take a “pledge to carry forward the ideals and work that he stood for his entire life.”

The former Lok Sabha Speaker, Somnath Chatterjee, visited Indira Bhavan, which served as Jyoti Basu's residence for years, and bemoaned the loss of the leader at a time when political violence had gripped the State.

Describing the situation as “unfortunate and a matter of concern,” Mr. Chatterjee said, “He [Jyoti Basu] always spoke against violence and for working together to build a society not for partisan political purposes, but for the benefit of the people.”

Mr. Chatterjee recounted the days when the veteran Marxist leader was able to hold discussion on several issues, including the violence at Nandigram.

Fund collection

The CPI(M) State Committee launched a 10-day campaign to collect funds for the setting up of a centre dedicated to his memory at the Jyoti Basu Centre for Social Science and Research Organisation.

Issuing an appeal to party workers, supporters and the people to donate funds for the centre, CPI(M) State Secretary Biman Bose said the land for the centre had been allocated in Jyoti Basu Nagar, located on the north-eastern fringe of the city, and a sizeable sum was required to purchase the land.

The centre would have details of his life, an auditorium, a meeting hall, a conference room, a library and a guest house, Mr. Bose said in a written statement.

“The life of Jyoti Basu is the history of the people's movement in the country,” Mr. Bose said.