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Good coordinator

Published : Feb 12, 2010 00:00 IST

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R.V. MOORTHY

R.V. MOORTHY

He made communism popular among the middle class.

T.J. Chandrachoodan, general secretary, Revolutionary Socialist Party.

JYOTI BASU had the ability to attract the middle class, which until the 1950s considered communists as militants. He was underground at that time as the Communist Party was banned. When the ban was lifted, he was able to establish a rapport with the bhadralok. Until that time, the Communist Party comprised workers and labourers only. The communists were also concentrating mainly on organising the working class. It was a tremendous feat on his part that made Indian communism popular among the middle classes. He not only took the initiative against the bourgeois government of that day but also underscored the need to participate in parliamentary politics in order to make it a weapon of the working class. Without Jyoti Basu at the helm, the Left Front would not have survived the first five years. Whenever there was friction even after his retirement from active politics he could find a solution; everyone looked up to him for solutions.

He was a good coordinator; he knew how to keep alliances going. Even when he implemented the panchayati raj, many within the Left Front felt that it was an extra-communist activity and that it was more like a Congress programme. But he was convinced about the importance of self-governance. Abroad, he is a symbol of the communist movement of India. He reflected the changing mood of Indian communism. I have all respect for him as he strengthened Left unity, which spread to other States as well. His plain-speaking and polite way of handling things was another commendable quality. He never shied away from mistakes and only a man of integrity and character could do that. He was the foremost, plain-speaking, non-hypocritical leader among communists. It was his rapport with the common people that stood out. He somehow conveyed to them the feeling that they would not be ignored and the massive outpouring of the people on the streets of Kolkata showed how people felt about him.

(This story was published in the print edition of Frontline magazine dated Feb 12, 2010.)

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