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Paul says Basu was a great PM India never had

india Updated: Jan 17, 2010 16:53 IST

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Condoling the demise of Marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu, leading NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul on Sunday said the veteran leader was a "great Prime Minister India never had".

"In Basu we have lost a great son of Bengal, a great Indian and for me a great friend and a great Prime Minister India never had," Lord Paul said in his heartfelt condolences.

Basu, who died today at 95, was the longest-serving Chief Minister of West Bengal for 23 years from 1977 at the head of CPI(M)-headed Left Front government.

He was offered the Prime Minister's chair in 1996 in the then United Front coalition government but his party CPI(M) declined the offer.

Lord Paul said in Basu's death India has lost a "very warm human being who ruled his state with compassion, giving a firm leadership without ever losing his cool".

He said it was in Basu's tenure at the helm in West Bengal that the state progressed the most and "he gave the best law and order".

"A very committed and disciplined party worker, he always sacrificed his personal gain for party discipline," he said.