Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah Sunday said that Jyoti Basu was a “ great support” to him during his times of political crisis, and felt that he would have made “ a great Prime Minister had his party- CPI-M- not demonstrated a narrow vision” that time.
Farooq Abdullah, whose family had personal relationship with Jyoti Basu, who died in Kolkota Sunday morning, said his death was a “ personal loss to him” .
National Conference president and patriarch of first political family of Kashmir said that after his father Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s death ( in 1982), he looked up to Jyoti Basu for help.
“ He was like a father figure to me,” Farooq said of Jyoti Basu who had stood by him when Congress had turned hostile to him in 1983-1984.
The National Conference leader spoke to Hindustan Times on phone from New Delhi .
Farooq Abdullah felt that Basu’s party “ committed biggest mistake in 1996 when it did not allow him to become Prime Minister.”
“ He would have been a great Prime Minister , and brought much of progress to the nation . But his party demonstrated very narrow vision,” Farooq said .
The NC leader recalled how during opposition chief ministers’ conclave in Srinagar in October 1983, and after his government’s dismissal ( July 1984), Jyoti Basu had stood by him.
“ He was the one man who stood up to Mrs Indira Gandhi and told her that dismissal of my government was a national disaster. He was a true democrat and worked throughout his life for the progress and safety of the nation.”
Farooq also recalled that how Jyoti Basu was a “ strong votary of restoration of greater autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir .”
Farooq had created a flutter when he had taken a cab to see ailing Basu in a hospital in Kolkota on January 5. “ I had hoped that he would pull out of this crisis, but his age weighed against him. Doctors did their best.”.