|Sunday, October 29, 2000,
Basu submits resignation
CALCUTTA, Oct 28 — The Left Front this evening endorsed the decision of the Chief Minister, Mr Jyoti Basu, to step down.
(According to a late night PTI report from Siliguri, the Chief Minister, Mr Jyoti Basu, formally submitted his resignation to the Governor, Mr Viren J. Shah).
Mr Bhattacharjee would be sworn in as the next Chief Minister at 1630 hours on November 6 on the Governor’s return.
With Mr Jyoti Basu’s stepping down, there has been a change of power in the CPI (M) leadership from “the old-guard to the new”, which does not happen very often in the Marxist party.
With his resignation, a host of senior ministers and leaders are now willing to quit. They are, among others, Mr Subhas Chakraborty (CPI-M Minister for Transport), Mr Bhakti Bhusan Mondal (FB Minister in charge of Co-operation), Mr Debabrata Bandopadhyya (RSP Minister in charge of Irrigation), Mr Somnath Chatterjee, MP (Chairman, WBIDC) and Mr Sailen Dasgupta, Senior FB Minister, Mr Biren Moitra, has already tendered his resignation.
Mr Basu’s decision was approved by the party secretariat yesterday and endorsed at the Left Front Committee’s meeting this evening, though some major partners of the front — Forward Bloc, RSP and CPI — objected to Mr Basu quitting on the eve of the forthcoming crucial Assembly elections.
They wanted Mr Basu to lead the front in the electioneering as they felt Chief Minister Basu and CPI (M) leader Basu would not mean the same to the electorate”.
General Secretary of the Forward Bloc, Mr Ashok Ghosh, said it would adversely affect the unity of the front partners. He doubted if the older leaders of the FB, RSP and CPI, in the Cabinet would feel comfortable working under a younger Chief Minister. He said “Basu was the Chief Minister of not the CPI (M) alone but the Left Front also. Hence, Front partners’ views should have been considered on the question of allowing Basu to quit”.
Senior RSP Ministers Debabrata Bandopadhyya (Irrigation) and Kshiti Goswami (PWD) also registered their protest.
Mr Basu will hand over the “crowns” to his younger comrade, Mr Bhattacharyya, at a function at Raj Bhavan tentatively on November 7 (the date will be finalised after consulting the Governor, Mr Viren J. Shah, now in the hills of Darjeeling). Mr Basu, however, remains the Left Front Chairman.
Mr Bhattacharyya was projected as the Chief Minister in place of Mr Basu in the early eighties by the party’s iron-man, the late Promode
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