Castro-fan Maradona to meet Jyoti Basu

December 4th, 2008 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 4 (IANS) Lending a communist hue to Diego Maradona’s two-day visit to the city, the organisers have arranged for a tete-a-tete between the legendary footballer and Marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu Sunday, a parliamentarian said here Thursday.”Maradona will pay a courtesy visit to Basu,” Comunist Party of India (CPI-M) Lok Sabha member Samik Lahiri told IANS here.

Lahiri said Maradona readily agreed to call on Basu at his Salt Lake residence after seeing a photograph of the former West Bengal chief minister with Cuba’s legendary communist leader Fidel Castro.

The photo, showing Castro and Basu standing side by side, was taken in 1973 when the former Cuban president paid a visit to the city. It was sent to Maradona about ten days back by the organisers.

“Maradona has been greatly influenced by Castro. They are good friends. So, when he saw the photo, he readily agreed to meet Basu,” Lahiri said.

Maradona has never concealed his deep admiration for the Cuban revolutionary leader, and spoken out time and again against US war efforts and its antagonism towards the Communist nation. The Argentine soccer legend had also spent a few months in Cuba some years back for rehabilitation after his health deteriorated due to drug abuse.

Maradona, now Argentina’s national coach, arrives in Kolkata in the early hours of Dec 6 and is scheduled to attend a series of programmes which includes laying the foundation stone of the Indian Football School, participating in a charity dinner and conducting a soccer clinic for under-12 footballers at the Mohun Bagan ground.

He would be felicitated at the Salt Lake stadium and also visit the Mother House, global headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, before leaving for home Dec 7 night.

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