Yesterday, I heard the news that the former Chief Minister of West Bengal, Sri Jyoti Basu passed away. Commentators found some of his policies controversial, but no one could deny that he was one of the most charismatic Indian politicians of the last century. On a personal note, for most of my life, he was also the only Chief Minister I knew. So it was only natural that yesterday, I was thinking about his long political career and the futile stand he took against the leadership of his party in 1996. It was a brave move and as one friend put it, he will be remembered perhaps, as “the best Prime Minister that we never had.”
People from all walks of life from Bollywood film-star Amitabh Bachchan to Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina paid their respects to the fallen stalwart. The news made a lot of headlines in all the Kolkata-based newspapers too.
However, in their emotional state, some people might have gone a bit over the top. Anandabazar reports some comments of the common people in the newspaper today.
The following comment from a worker at the Birbhum Circuit-House was a bit surprising:
“শৌচাগারে বালতি অপরিচ্ছন্ন। আমরা তাড়াতাড়ি পাল্টে দিই। উনি পরে খুব প্রশংসা করেন।”
(“The bucket in the bathroom was dirty. We changed it quickly. Later, he [Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu] was full of praise for us“).
My honest question is this: if you had one chance to give an account of your last respect to one of the stalwarts of your state to the largest-circulated daily newspaper, would you freely say there was a dirty bucket in the bathroom under your charge?
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