(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 05, 2009
SENIOR CPI(M) leader Jyoti Basu rebutted BJP supremo L K Advani’s remark to a news agency that he had met Jyoti Basu ‘covertly’ prior to the so-called ‘rathayatra’ that claimed the lives of hundreds across its bloody path. Jyoti Basu admitted to the meting quite freely and said that the meeting was overt rather than covert.
Jyoti Basu previously had a word with the CPI(M) Polit Bureau and with the then general secretary Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet before proceeding to meet Advani. The then prime minister V P Singh, too, had earlier prevailed upon Basu to speak to Advani towards dissuading the BJP leader from the ‘rathayatra’.
In the exchanges that followed between Basu and Advani, Basu told the latter that the purported ‘rathayatra’ would create disharmony and even rioting. Advani would not listen to Basu’s advice that he abort the ‘programme.’
Later, Basu also met A B Vajpayee and asked him to prevent the ‘rathayatra’ but nothing came out of this meeting, too. Basu added to say that he along with Comrade Surjeet telephoned the then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao asking him to initiate measures so that the Babri Masjid was not pulled down. The late Rao promised to do ‘something’ about the issue but in practice did nothing.
Incidentally Jyoti Basu recalled that when as prime minister A B Vajpayee came to Kolkata and met him as chief minister, he asked as to why he (Basu) called the BJP a party that was ‘uncivilized and barbaric.’ Basu had replied that he said this because BJP was engaged in orchestrating riots in Gujarat, killing members of the minority communities with impunity, and that it had pulled down the Babri Masjid, causing riots to break out. After this strong repartee, Vajpayee had held his silence.