Mamata draws flak for observing Basu’s birthday in advance

July 6th, 2012 - 11:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, July 6 (IANS) The Mamata Banerjee government Friday stirred a controversy by celebrating the birth anniversary of former chief minister Jyoti Basu at the state assembly two days in advance.

The Left Front members abstained, saying disrespect had been shown to the Marxist legend, triggering a sharp response from Banerjee.

CPI-M leader Basu, who holds the record for the longest chief ministerial stint in post independence India (1977-2000) and closely missed becoming the country’s prime minister in 1996, was born July 8, 1914. He died Jan 17, 2010.

“The opposition members have stayed away due to political reasons. It is a cruel joke of destiny that those who were his (Basu’s) political rivals, are paying tributes here, but those who were his followers have stayed away,” she said speaking a the function after paying floral tributes at the leader’s portrait.

“I pray to God to forgive them,” Banerjee said.

Banerjee said the event had to be advanced as Sunday (July 8) was a holiday for the staff and consequently there would have been a poor gathering. “We want to show respect to great men on their birth anniversaries in a befitting manner before a sizeable number of people”.

Leader of the opposition and senior Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Surjya Kanta Mishra said birth anniversaries cannot be observed as per the chief minister’s convenience and it only amounted to showing disrespect to great men.

“The main objective is to score political points by observing his birth anniversary before the opposition can hold such an event,’ Mishra said.

He said the Left Front members will observe Basu’s birthday on July 8 at the assembly.

Banerjee said that the event could not be held on Sunday (July 8) as the Assembly would remain closed on the day.

Though some Congress lawmakers took part in the tributes, the party also said it was improper to hold birth anniversary celebrations in advance.

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