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Jyoti Basu's state funeral today; Hasina, Sonia to be present

india Updated: Jan 19, 2010 08:04 IST

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CPI (M) patriarch Jyoti Basu would be given a state funeral in Kolkata on Tuesday after Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, BJP leader L K Advani and a host of dignitaries and commoners pay homage to him.

"Jyoti Basu will be given a state funeral today. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will led a 30-member delegation to pay tribute to Basu at the assembly premises where his body will be kept for over five hours," Assembly Speaker Hasim Abdul Halim told reporters here.

1914 - 2010

Hasina, who reaches Kolkata in the morning by a special flight, will be accompanied by four of her cabinet colleagues and Bangladesh's former military ruler Hussain Muhammed Ershad who had studied in school and college in West Bengal.

Among other leaders to pay homage would be union ministers Sharad Pawar and S Jaipal Reddy, former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and RJD leader Lalu Prasad.

Under a changed schedule, Basu's body will be taken from the funeral parlour, where it is being kept, to CPI (M) headquarters at Alimuddin Street at around 8:30 am.

CPI-M politburo and Central and State Committee members besides leaders of other political parties will pay homage to Basu at the CPI-M headquarters, CPI (M) state secretary Biman Bose said.

From Alimuddin Street, Basu's body will be taken to the state secretariat, Writers Building, for a few minutes where Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will place wreaths on the body.

The body will then be taken to the assembly premises where it will be kept for five hours from 10:00 am.

Basu's final journey will begin from the assembly premises at 3:00 PM and a guard of honour will be given to him at Moharkunj, a park near SSKM Hospital where his body has been donated.

"Basu's body will be used for medical study and research by students and research fellows," doctors at the hospital said.

"As a communist, I am pledged to serve humanity till my last breath. I am happy now I will continue to serve even after my death," Basu had written while pledging to donate his body at a function organised in 2003 by 'Ganadarpan', an NGO.

Basu had also pledged his eyes, which were removed after his death yesterday by doctors of Sushrut Eye Foundation at Salt Lake.

"Basu's corneas have been kept for the Muktakeshi eye foundation," CPI (M) sources said.

A stream of mourners queued up before the CPI-M headquarters and the Indira Bhavan, official residence of Basu, at Salt Lake to pay their last respect to the departed leader as West Bengal observes a two-day state mourning beginning Monday.

A holiday has been declared in the state government offices as a mark of respect to the veteran communist leader and mourning processions were taken out across West Bengal on Monday with placards reading Jyoti Basu Amar Rahe.