CPI-M asks PM for postage stamp on Jyoti Basu

Kolkata, June 12 (IANS) The CPI-M has appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to issue a set of postage stamps to mark the centenary of late West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu.

In a letter to Singh released to the media Wednesday, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Rajya Sabha member and central committee member Shyamal Chakraborty said Basu’s centenary would be celebrated from July 8 this year to July 8 2014.

“I propose that your good office may kindly advice Department of Posts to publish a set of commemorative postage stamps in his name during his birth centenary,” said Chakarborty.

An identical letter was sent to Communication and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal.

In his letter, Chakraborty refered to the role Basu played in India’s political life after Independence.

“He (Basu) ran a government in a state for consecutive five terms. (He) had the widest experience of working with 10 out of 13 prime ministers of India. This may be reckoned as unprecedented record in the history of democracy.”

Chakraborty also pointed out that during his stint as the country’s finance minister between 1991 and 1996, Singh had worked with Basu.

Basu, born July 8, 1914, was at the helm of affairs in West Bengal for over 23 years from 1977, the longest chief ministerial tenure in India. He voluntarily stepped down in 2000 due to ill health.

Basu almost became India’s prime minister in 1996 at the head of a centre-Left United Front government. But the CPI-M vetoed the proposal, and he later dubbed the party’s decision a “historical blunder”.

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