Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Describing Jyoti Basu as a great leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Left movement and the country, the party general secretary Prakash Karat on Sunday said that with the passing away of Mr. Basu “an era has passed.”

In his condolence message, Mr. Karat said 70 years of public life and political activity marked Mr. Basu out, at the time of his death, as the most distinguished Left leader of the country.

Ardent Communist

“An ardent Communist, he was one of the few political leaders in independent India who actually deepened democracy, strengthened secularism and brought the working people to the centre-stage of Indian politics,” he said.

Mr. Karat said that as the Chief Minister of West Bengal for a record 23 years, Mr. Basu’s contributions were land reforms, which gave land and security of tenure to millions of peasants, the vitalisation of panchayat institutions, and the creation of an enduring atmosphere of secularism in the State.

He taught Communists how to work and serve the people in parliamentary forums in order to bring about changes in public policy.

Mr. Basu, he said, stood with the struggles of the working class and all working people and became a symbol of Left, democratic and secular forces.

“Although he died at the age of 95, he leaves us bereft — because there will be none like Jyoti Basu again.”

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