On the first working day of the week, the city wore a deserted look with all State government offices and many schools remaining closed as a mark of respect to the departed Marxist leader, Jyoti Basu. Many private sector companies too declared a holiday. Some shops downed their shutters, even as some remained open with the CPI(M) flag flying at half-mast.
Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, who was to lay the foundation stone for Coal India Limited’s new office complex at Rajarhat, has postponed the function.
Though most people stayed indoors, with a below-normal day temperature of 17 degrees Celsius adding to the overall gloom, some braved the chill to reach the funeral parlour ‘Peace Haven’ in downtown Kolkata where Jyoti Basu now rests, his residence ‘Indira Bhavan’ at Salt Lake and the CPI(M) office.
Responding to queries from journalists, Speaker H.A. Halim said it was for the State government and the party to decide whether a statue of Jyoti Basu would be installed in the Assembly. “Personally I do not support such things, but who am I to decide?”
The Bharat Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and the Merchants Chamber of Commerce (MCC) have condoled the death of the former West Bengal Chief Minister. The BCC said he was always very fair in his approach and never hesitated to take a decision that would benefit the State. The MCC said he had evolved a role model for a multi-party government in Indian polity and remained at the helm of affairs for 24 long years. He was also the champion of private-public-partnership for rapid industrialisation and socio-economic development of West Bengal.
Nikhil Banga Sikshak Samiti, a body of teachers, recalled how he suffered seven days’ imprisonment for supporting their historic movement in 1954.
City Tamils, under Tamil Manram, recalled his support and interaction with them.