Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan on Sunday termed Communist veteran Jyoti Basu's death "a great loss" and described him as the architect of modern Bengal.
"He is the seniormost member in our party and his loss is going to be a great loss for the Communist movement. Even though (he was) born into a rich family and studied abroad to be a barrister, he returned to the country and started building the party which he did by working in the villages," Achuthanandan told reporters in his hometown near Alappuzha.
He added that Basu was the founder of the Centre of Indian Trade Union and he did a lot for West Bengal, specially bringing in land reforms.
"He created the Bengal that is seen today and also was instrumental in floating the Third Alternative, besides giving a significant push to take the party to the national level," said Achuthanandan, who has served in the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo along with Basu for long.
Achuthanandan had earlier this month visited Basu in hospital.
CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan described Basu as a legendary Communist who gave his life and worked hard to uplift the poor and downtrodden.
Justice (Retd) VR Krishna Iyer, who was the law and irrigation Minister in the first elected Communist government in 1957 led by EMS Nampoothiripad here, said Basu's loss was an irreparable loss for the country.
"If you ask me to name a socialist thinker, I will have no hesitation to say it is Basu. He was a thinker who worked in the villages," said Iyer.
The CPI-M has directed all party flags to be flown at half mast across the state.