The country’s business leaders set aside ideological differences to pay tributes to veteran Marxist leader and former chief minister Jyoti Basu, who had a capital and business-friendly image among many despite criticism that his reign over West Bengal stymied industrial growth.
“We view his passing with great sorrow. He was a great leader of the nation and the state. He will be missed by all,” said Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata in a statement. The corporate leader was himself a victim of protests by farmers in the communist-ruled state when he was force to take his planned Tata Motors plant to Gujarat.
Despite the acrimony, Tata was considered a friend of Basu.
"A life of great turmoil and struggle has finally come to an end. India is poorer on account of his demise," said Rama Prasad Goenka, founder & chairman emeritus of the Kolkata-based RPG Group.
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) president Venu Srinivasan said that the nation has lost one of the tallest leaders in the demise of the 95-year-old patriarch and praised his 23-year reign for promoting inclusive growth.
“The nation has lost a visionary and a leader of stature,” he said.
Secretary general of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) Amit Mitra echoed similar views.
“Industry has had many differences with him, but some similar views as well on growth and development during his tenure as chief minister of West Bengal,” Mitra said, praising his industrial policy of 1995.
“Not only in Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata, Jyoti Basu was known all over the world. His demise is a sad affair…he was such a nice man," said industrial doyen Basant Kumar Birla.
“India has lost a great leader and statesman," said Y.C. Deveshwar, chairman, ITC Ltd.