E.M.S. Namboodiripad, One of the Founder, Communist Party of India (Marxist )

I have had the privilege of working with Com. Jyoti Basu for nearly half a century.

I got acquinted with him in the 1940s when he had started working as an England ­returned Communist in the then undivided Bengal.

Like all of us he had to go through a number of twists and turns in the history of India's Communist Movement. His role in fighting the right and left opportunism which raised their heads in the undivided CPI towards the end of the 40s and the beginning of the 50s is remarkable. That was how he shot into prominence as a party leader in West Bengal in the 1950s.

Through out the 50s and 60s, he was leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly. In 1967, for the first time, he became a Minister in the United Front Government and later Chief Minister. Between 1969 and 1977, he was out of office but still the most prominent political leader in West Bengal. In 1977, he again became the Chief Minister, a position which he continues to occupy today.

No Chief Minister in any State had such a continuity in office. The nearest to him was the Congress Chief Minister of West Bengal, the late Dr. B. C. Roy. Jyoti Basu however has outdone him.

This long spell in office as the Chief Minister of West Bengal made him a rising national leader, respected and looked up to by the leaders of all political parties in the country. His advice is sought and listened to by the political leaders of all parties who are interested in creating a third alternative to the Narasimha Rao-led Congress  on the one hand and the Advani-Bajpai-led BJP on the other. The Communists throughout the country are proud of Com. Basu.

As a close friend with memories of cooperative work with him I pay my tribute to him.