The Left Front in West Bengal is planning to organise a public meeting in memory of Jyoti Basu on Sunday. Faxed invites were being sent to leaders and dignitaries, Front chairman Biman Bose said. Leaders from the Communist Party of Pakistan would also be invited.

While participation in the meeting has been kept “open for everybody who loved Jyoti Basu,” indications are that all those who had come to enquire after the veteran leader at the hospital or offered condolences at any of the three designated places on January 19 would be welcomed.

In an oblique reference at a press conference as to whether Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee was being invited, Mr. Bose said: “We are not going into any sort of divisiveness.”

The management and staff of the AMRI hospital, as well as the team of doctors who struggled to save the late leader’s life, were also welcome to join the meeting.

Basu breathed his last on January 17 after a gallant fight over 17 days.

“We cannot reach out to so many people but we would like all of them to attend the Sunday meeting,” a senior member of the CPI(M) connected with organising the meeting said.

Mr. Bose said that since leaders from the Communist Party of Pakistan and the Bangladesh Workers Party were being invited, he would urge the authorities to facilitate their visas.

Basu’s aide reminisces

At a condolence meeting organised here on Thursday, Joy Krishna Ghosh, Mr. Basu’s aide since the seventies, said the veteran leader always insisted that his security men should have the same food that he was offered while on tours. “He would enquire minutely to find out what we ate, to check whether a special sweet offered to him at a circuit house [while on tour] was given to his security staff too,” he said, reminiscing about the man he had known closely ever since he was appointed his confidential assistant in 1977.

The condolence meeting was organised by the Citizen’s Initiative along with the Rajasthan Maitri Parishad.

“The day I first took my chair he cautioned me,” Mr. Ghosh recalled. “This chair is tough and is lined with temptations; you have to be very careful. People do not come to the Secretariat when they are happy; they only come when they have problems. Try to help them, if you cannot, explain them your difficulties,” was the advice Basu gave.

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