Special Correspondent

Bangalore/GULBARGA: Several leaders, including Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and Minister for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Jagadish Shettar, have condoled the death of the former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu, who passed away in Kolkata on Sunday.

Union Labour and Employment Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge, in a statement issued here said, his death was an irreparable loss to the communist movement in the country and it would be difficult to fill the void created by his death.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President R.V. Deshpande said Mr. Basu had refused the Prime Minister’s post when it was offered to him, preferring to give a value-based leadership to the people in his State for 23 years.

He added that the nation had lost a statesman.

Secretary-General of the All India University Employees’ Confederation M.B. Sajjan said Mr. Basu’s death was a great loss to the country in general and the working class in particular. District Secretary of the CPI Shoukat Ali Alur also condoled the death.

The State unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) paid rich tributes to its leader. In a condolence meeting at the party headquarters in Bangalore, the State Secretariat member G.C. Byya Reddy said that translating the dreams of the departed leader into reality would be the richest tribute one could pay to the unparallel democratic ideologue of the country.

Mr. Reddy said his death was not only a big loss for the Communist parties but also for all democratic and secular forces in the country as he was the “harbinger and saint” of equality and democracy.

He said that it was time for all democratic and secular- minded people to come together for forging the third alternative as Jyoti Basu had wished in the national interest. The party’s executive committee member Gurushanth said that the departed leader had an intimate relationship with the State, particularly Bangalore. He had visited the State several times, including during the party’s State-level convention held at Harihar.

Several units of the party in the city took a silent procession holding black flags along with the party flags, and paid homage at the party headquarters.

Various Leftist outfits in different parts of Kolar district, including Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), also mourned the veteran Marxist leader’s death.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) district unit hoisted the CPI(M) flag at half mast at the party office in Kolar. A two-minute silence was observed as a mark of respect to the departed leader.

Later, speaking at the condolence meeting, CPI(M) district secretary G. Arjunan recalled the contribution of Mr. Basu to the working class movement. “Organising a strong movement towards fulfilling his unfinished works would be a befitting tribute to Mr. Basu,” Mr. Arjunan said. In his address, CPI(M) State committee member and CITU district president Gandhinagar Narayanswamy said that in Jyoti Basu’s death the country had lost a good friend of the working class. District president of Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha (KPRS) P.R. Suryanarayan said Mr. Basu’s role in building a vast peasant movement in the country was memorable.