Buddhadeb and Mamata pay tributes to the former Chief Minister
Leaders from across the political spectrum converged on various places in the city to pay their last respects to the former Chief Minister, Siddhartha Shankar Ray, who was cremated with full State honours on Sunday.
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee paid tributes to Mr. Ray when the body was brought to the Assembly.
The former Chief Minister received a Guard of Honour before the body was consigned to the flames at a crematorium here.
The government has announced a State holiday for Monday.
With the death of the eminent Congress leader on Saturday evening, the State has lost two of its political stalwarts who were close friends though political opponents — veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu and Mr. Ray — within a span of 10 months.
The funeral proceedings, which were overseen personally by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, began early on Sunday morning with a stream of mourners visiting Mr. Ray's South Kolkata residence. Apart from several Trinamool leaders, Biman Bose, Chairman of the State Left Front Committee and senior leaders of the Left parties came to his residence.
As the body was taken from his residence towards the Assembly, Ms. Banerjee walked alongside the funeral hearse for some distance. She rejoined the procession later.
Led by Mr. Bhattacharjee, Ministers and senior officials of the government joined the legislators in paying their last respects.
The former Lok Sabha Speaker, Somnath Chatterjee; Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Partha Chatterjee; and West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president Manas Bhunia were among those who were present.
The body of Mr. Ray, who was a barrister of great repute, was taken to the premises of the Calcutta High Court. Later the procession vended its way to the offices of the Cricket Association of Bengal and the Chittaranjan Seva Sadan, places of significance in his life and career, before reaching the crematorium. Ms. Banerjee was present when the last rites were performed.