Jyoti Basu, the charismatic patriarch of Indian communism who came
close to becoming India's prime minister, has died. He was 95.
Basu died Sunday in Kolkata after a long illness.
In 1977, he led the Communist Party of India to power in West Bengal,
where he ruled for 23 consecutive years. Basu was the longest-serving
chief minister in India's political history.
In 1996, a group of political parties asked Basu to lead a coalition
government in New Delhi. However, the Communist Party declined, saying
it did not want to be part of a government in which it did not have a
majority. Basu later described that decision as a "historic blunder."
In his later years, Basu assumed the role of an elder statesman whose
advice and opinion was sought and respected across the political
We have several reports from our Dhaka and Kolkata reporters on this veteran leader Jyoti Basu.