Mamata regime withdraws bill naming township after Jyoti Basu
West Bengal's Trinamool Congress government Tuesday withdrew a bill which had included a clause naming a sprawling modern township on the city's eastern fringes after late communist patriarch and former chief minister Jyoti Basu.
Disregarding strong protests from opposition Left Front members, the government withdrew in the assembly the New Town, Kolkata Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2011 passed by the erstwhile Left Front regime that had included a proposal to name the area as Jyoti Basu Nagar.
The legislation was replaced by the New Town, Kolkata Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which has no provision about the township's nomenclature.
The township, conceived during Basu's tenure, was named after him through a gazette notification in 2010. The New Town, Kolkata Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2011, had a clause which referred to the nomenclature.
The LF members, led by Leader of the Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra, protested against the government move, raised slogans and walked out of the house when the fresh legislation was tabled.
Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said the new bill aimed at changing the tax system of the township from that envisaged in the old legislation.
On the other hand, Mishra termed as "politically motivated" the withdrawal of the old bill and its replacement with a new one.
Virtually challenging the government, Mishra later told reporters that if it had guts it should clearly state that it did not want the township to be named after Basu.
"It is surprising and unprecedented that a bill which was adopted by the house as per recommendations of the select committee and later sent to the government has been withdrawn.
"If the government only wanted to change the tax structure they should have retained the provision naming the township as Jyoti Basu Nagar. But they have chosen to delete it", he said.
Lauding the role played by Basu even before Independence, Mishra said: "He was the longest serving chief minister in the country. The manner in which the legislation has been withdrawn is unconstitutional."
Born July 8, 1914, Basu was state chief minister for 23 years till he voluntarily stepped down in 2000 due to old age and health problems.
A founder-member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, Basu almost became India's prime minister in 1996 at the head of a centre-Left United Front government. But the CPI-M vetoed the proposal and the leader later dubbed the party's decision a "historical blunder". He died Jan 17, 2010.
(Posted on 26-11-2013)