KOLKATA, 13 January, 2010: The country had lost out in not having a prime minister in Jyoti Basu in 1996, RJD president Lalu Prasad said today.
"Had Basu become PM then there would have a lot of difference in the country today. I think there would have been a lot of progress and the dream of establishing socialism in the country would have got a boost," Prasad, who was here to visit the ailing Marxist patriarch in hospital along with LJP chief Ram Vilas, told reporters here.
When told that his party did not allow Basu to become prime minister, Prasad said "Basu is a great leader and he himself refused."
Paswan said, "Basu is not only a Left leader, he is a national leader."
“Jyoti Basu is a great leader. He is not only a great leader of West Bengal but of the whole nation. It was his greatness that he turned down the post of prime minister after the United Front proposed his name in 1996. I wish and pray to God that he gets well soon,” said Lalu, who was also a prominent leader of the United Front.
Former Union minister Paswan also said: “A hundred years from now, those who have become prime ministers till now may be forgotten. But Basu will forever remain fresh in people’s memory.”