Although uncrowned, Jyoti Basu was the king of West Bengal. He was a true patriot and democrat, and a great source of inspiration. He made momentous contributions to public life, and to the development of West Bengal. He will be best remembered as a leader of the masses. His demise leaves a void, difficult to fill.

Vinod C. Dixit,

Ahmedabad

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Jyoti Basu contributed a lot to India - its secularism, Left consciousness, political equilibrium, and its democratic well-being. His biggest gift to West Bengal was land reform - something the dweller of Kolkata has neither understood nor will ever reconcile with. He gave the State's poor dignity and self-respect but couldn't guarantee prosperity as defined in the post-liberalisation era. Almost all modern Indian politicians have been inspired in some way or the other by Basu. The Indian Left will never be the same again.

Mohd Ziyaullah Khan,

Nagpur

***

"A life of struggle and unprecedented political success; integrity and commitment all the way" - the words (Jan. 18) were the greatest tribute paid to the veteran Marxist leader. Basu's demise is an irreparable loss to not only the left movement but also the entire country. The country has lost a statesman and a man of wisdom.

J. Anantha Padmanabhan,

Srirangam

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The passing of the Communist leader is a great loss to the nation. His government is credited with restoring political stability in West Bengal after it was wrecked by naxal insurgency in the 1970s.

More than a million sharecroppers benefited through the land reforms introduced by his government. Basu was an ideal candidate for Prime Minister, which he never became.

V. Douglas Kirpa Raja,

Coimbatore

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Jyoti Basu was the unquestioned leader of the CPI (M) since its birth in 1964. He reformed and transformed West Bengal into a well-governed State. He was a gentleman - bhadrapurush. In his passing away, the CPI (M) has lost a charismatic leader. The Union government should honour him with the Bharat Ratna.

B. Raghavendra Rao,

Tanuku

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Jyoti Basu was a legendary Marxist leader who set high benchmarks for those heading a government. Was there any Chief Minister other than him who insisted on leaving office because he could not give his best due to his advancing age? Can there be another leader who will abide by party discipline, in spite of holding a contrary view, and forsake prime ministership? Besides land reforms, his great contribution to the nation was his relentless struggle to maintain high standards of secularism.

Kasim Sait,

Chennai

***

India has lost a great leader, an able administrator, a true Marxist, and a great patriot. Heading a complex State for more than two decades was no mean task. He was a giant among political leaders and a visionary with the right mix of political acumen and practical wisdom.

Varijakshan Edakkazhiyoor,

Malappuram

***

Basu will be long remembered for his outstanding work in implementing effective agrarian reforms that substantially reduced rural poverty, as also the growth of grassroots democracy by devolution of State power to elected local self-governments. An uncompromising Marxist, Basu modernised communism to fit into this century by demonstrating that electoral democracy, not armed revolution, was the way to the emancipation of the peasantry and workers.

On the negative side, West Bengal suffered a massive flight of industries and capital due to the stridently aggressive trade unionism. When Basu realised that his State was relegated to the economic backwaters, the pragmatist in him lost no time in initiating measures to reclaim the lost ground.

P. Krishnan,

Puttaparthy

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