Saturday, October 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Jyoti Basu to quit on Nov 7
From Subhrangshu Gupta

CALCUTTA, Oct 27 — Mr Jyoti Basu is likely to step down on November 7 to make way for his successor, Mr Buddhadev Bhattacharyya who will be sworn in as Chief Minister.

The Governor, Mr Vireen J Shah, now in Darjeeling, has been conveyed about the decision, which will be formally endorsed at the Left Front committee’s meeting tomorrow, the swearing-in ceremony may be altered by a day or two.

Though Mr Basu will step down as Chief Minister, he will remain in active politics and take over as Chairman of the Left Front in place of Mr Sailen Dasgupta. He will now get more involved in national politics, bringing the country’s secular forces to a common platform against the BJP. Already at the recently held party’s special conference at Thiruvananthapuram, Mr Basu, gave a call to all national forces to join hands against the BJP which was ruining the country.

Mr Basu himself announced his decision to step down “within a few days” to mediapersons at Writers Buildings today. The Governor is now holidaying in the hill-city of Darjeeling. He will cut-short his visit and return to Calcutta for the swearing-in ceremony of Mr Bhattacharya.

Another senior minister of Mr Jyoti Basu’s Cabinet, Mr Biren Moitra, who is in charge of Agriculture Marketing, will also resign. He is a member of the Forward Bloc.

The 78-year-old Gandhian, Mr Moitra said he now felt “unfit” in the minister’s chair and as such would be resigning along with Mr Basu. He said he had communicated his decision to his party leadership and Mr Basu. Mr Moitra admitted that he had been a failure as minister as he could not deliver any good to the poor and the oppressed. But he had been in the minister’s chair as it was the decision of the party.

Now I could convince the party that after Mr Jyoti Basu’s departure, a senior person like me should not remain as minister, Mr Moitra said.

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