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Jyoti Basu

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None | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 30, 2007 06:30 PM IST

Jyoti Basu is a Communist politician from West Bengal. Basu is a Politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and, as the chief minister of West Bengal from 1977-2000, was India's longest-serving chief minister.

Basu was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1946, contesting the Railway constituency. When the Communist Party of India split in 1964, Basu became a prominent leader of the new Communist Party of India (Marxist). In 1967 and 1969, Basu became Deputy Chief Minister of West Bengal in the United Front governments.

Between June 21, 1977 and November 6, 2000, Basu served as the chief minister of West Bengal for the Left Front government. In 1997 Jyoti Basu seemed all set to be the consensus leader of the United Front for the post of Prime Minister of India. However, the CPI(M) politburo decided not to participate in the government, a decision that Jyoti Basu later termed a historic blunder. HD Deve Gowda from the Janata Dal instead became Prime Minister.

Basu resigned from the chief ministership of West Bengal in 2000 for health reasons and was succeeded by fellow CPI (M) politician Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. As of 2006, Basu holds the record for the longest-serving chief minister in Indian political history.

The 18th congress of CPI (M), held in Delhi 2005, re-elected Basu to its politburo. On September 13th 2006, Basu entreated the CPI (M) to allow his retirement, but was turned down.

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