Kolkata: Failing health and advancing age have forced former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu, now 95, to keep away from the Lok Sabha election campaign. But he is still eagerly sought after by Marxists ahead of their toughest electoral battle.
For the first time the ruling Left Front has plunged into the campaign minus the veteran Basu, who for nearly a quarter century presided over the state government led by his Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). Even after his voluntary retirement from day-to-day party activities, the CPI-M still exploits Basu's acceptance at the national level to woo voters for the April-May elections.
Image: Veteran leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) Jyoti Basu waves as he flags off a 'Jatha' (protest bus procession) in Kolkata against a massive joint naval exercise, which kicked off earlier in the day in the Bay of Bengal and involves warships from the US.
Image: Copyright AFP. Unauthorised reproduction is prohibited.