The Railway Minister said she had developed a close intimacy with Basu in the years before his death after he
stepped down as chief minister of West Bengal. “We are all deeply shocked at his death.” “He was a tall political figure in the country. He was instrumental in formation of the Left Front government in West Bengal. He was the first and last chapter of the Left Front government and Left movement,” said Banerjee, who had visited Basu at the hospital earlier in the day.
“I had good contact with him for the last 10 years. After he stepped down from office as chief minister, I had gone to see him 10 times. Towards the end, a deep bond had developed between us. He used to ask me about my political movement,” she said.
Banerjee said Basu wanted her to be present at his birthday positively and “I did that rushing from an official programme at Trivandrum”. She said, “We would have been happy if he had lived for some more days.”
“May his soul rest in peace. Whenever he called me, I rushed in,” said Banerjee, who had visited Basu during the height of the Singur land crisis.
The Trinamool Congress leader announced that all programmes of the party scheduled for Sunday had been cancelled as a mark of respect to the departed leader.
* Barricades have never been able to stop Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee from marching ahead even those that were placed near the AMRI Hospital where Basu breathed his last. Mamata was asked to walk past the barricades that were placed in front of the hospital’s main gate. But the indomitable Railway Minister refused to walk the extra 100 metres and instead decided to scale the fence. The firebrand leader hitched up her saree and jumped over the fence while the policemen and the assembled crowds looked
on with appreciation.