Marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu, hospitalised on Jan 1 following a pneumonia attack, did not exhibit any significant improvement on Thursday, though his ventilator support was partially reduced, doctors said.
An "anxious and concerned" Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the AMRI Hospital here where the 95-year-old former West Bengal chief minister is admitted in the intensive Cardiac Care Unit (ICCU). The prime minister offered to arrange for any medical expert needed to treat him.
A morning medical bulletin issued by the hospital said the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) veteran had fluctuating blood pressure.
However, the evening bulletin said the use of blood-pressure stabilising drugs has been reduced. "Today (Thursday) there was no significant improvement in his condition. But one good thing is that his ventilation support has been reduced to partial," said the bulletin.
Basu was put on a ventilator early Wednesday following acute respiratory problems.
The prime minister, accompanied by union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, spent 22 minutes at the hospital in Kolkata's satellite township Salt Lake. He saw Basu from outside the ICCU and discussed his condition with doctors.
"He told them (the medical board) that if they thought it necessary, he would arrange for any expert doctors from any part of the country," former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee told mediapersons.
Manmohan Singh also spoke to Basu's son Chandan and extended his best wishes for the ailing leader's speedy recovery.
"We are deeply touched by the trouble the prime minister has taken to come and visit our leader," said Chatterjee, an expelled CPI-M leader.
Union Minister of State for Health Dinesh Trivedi said the prime minister was "concerned and anxious" about Jyoti Basu's condition.
"Jyoti Basu is very precious. The government of India is ready to do anything that can be done. It is for the doctors to ask. The doctors have said if they feel the need, they will definitely put in such a request," said Trivedi.
The prime minister arrived in Kolkata from Delhi in a special aircraft around 12.30 p.m. only to visit Basu. After the brief one-and-a-half hour visit to the city, he returned to Delhi.
In a bid to ensure foolproof security for the prime minister, the state administration installed jammers and Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel threw a security cordon around the hospital.
The state government deployed a large number of armed policemen, Special Action Force (SAF) and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel to ensure foolproof security for the prime minister.
A steady stream of political luminaries called on Basu on Thursday. Governor Devanand Konwar, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, his Assam counterpart Tarun Gogoi, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat and his party comrades Brinda Karat and Sitaram Yechury were among those who visited the hospital.
Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Jagmohan Dalmiya also visited the ailing leader, who holds the record for the longest stint as chief minister after having being at the helm of affairs in the state for 23 uninterrupted years.