By Ajanta Chakraborty
Kolkata: Jyoti Basu has lost to C Achutha Menon. While no commemorative stamp was published for the centenary of the late CPM patriarch and Bengal chief minister, there was one printed in the name of the late CPI leader and Kerala chief minister in January, this year.
The two-term Kerala chief minister scored over our five-term chief minister, who also happens to be the country\’s longest serving chief minister (23 years), when a Rs 5-stamp was released in his name on 13 January. Menon, who was instrumental in starting a number of institutions and development projects in Kerala and was the only politician who adorned the chief minister\’s chair for two consecutive terms, was born in 1913 and died at the age of 78. Basu, on the other hand, was born on 8 July 1914 and died at the age of 97 in 2010. The other three communists for whom commemorative stamps were printed are A K Gopalan and E M S Namboodiripad of the CPM and V Subbaiyah of the CPI. The first two were from Kerala and the latter was from Tamil Nadu.
In a letter to Prime Minister , CPM Rajya Sabha M P and central committee member wrote that Basu\’s centenary would be celebrated from July 8 this year to July 8, next year. \”I propose that your good office may kindly advice the Department of Posts to publish a set of commemorative postage stamps in his name during his birth centenary,\” read the letter.
A similar letter was send to communication and information technology minister and Chakraborty mentioned the role Basu played in the post-Independence national politics. \”He (Basu) ran a government in a state for five consecutive terms. (He) had the wildest experience of working with 10 out of 13 prime ministers of India. This may be reckoned as unprecedented record in the history of democracy,\” read the letter. Chakarborty also pointed out that during his stint as the Finance Minister between 1991 and 1996, Singh had worked closely with Basu.
There\’s no denying the profile and popularity of Jyoti Basu, who almost became India\’s Prime Minister in 1996 at the head of a centre-Left United Front government. Basu, in an interview later, had called it a \”historical blunder\” when he had opted out as his party vetoed the proposal.(Source The Times of India Kolkata)