The West Bengal Assembly on Monday paid glowing tributes to Jyoti Basu — the longest-serving chief minister of the country — on the occasion of his birth centenary.

Paying his tribute, Speaker of the Assembly Biman Bandopadhyay said that Basu was a true national leader with a great personality.

Basu actually elevated the CPI(M) to the national level, for which he was asked to occupy the chair of Prime Minister in 1996, but he had refused for the sake of maintaining party discipline, Mr. Bandopadyay said.

Somnath Chatterjee, a long-time colleague of the late Basu, said that he used to speak in the language of the common people.

“Today his absence is felt very much. Basu used to say that politics is the best method for serving people and our Assembly and Parliament are meant for the people. Let us take the pledge to serve people. Basu always used to raise people’s problems in the House,” the former Lok Sabha speaker said.

He also noted that Basu could easily align himself with the masses and displayed an aura of great personality. He was not rigid and adapted himself to the changing times.

Among those who garlanded the portrait of Basu were former West Bengal speaker Hasim Abdul Halim, Leader of the Opposition Surya Kant Mishra, Deputy Leader of the House Partha Chatterjee, and members of the Assembly.