February 20, 2009

Hasina seeks Basu's blessings to realise Sonar Bangla dream

Kolkata, Wednesday, February 18, 2009: Newly elected Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina has sought nonagenarian Marxist and former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu's blessings for a successful tenure at the helm in Bangladesh.

In an emotional letter written to Basu in Bengali, (a copy of which is available with us), Hasina writes, "Bless me so that we can fulfil the duties set upon us, honour the verdict of the people and truly work for developing my country as the Shonar Bangla (Golden Bengal)."

Hasina also expressed concern over the failing health of Basu, 94. "I am quite worried to know that you are ill. I wish you quick recovery and am looking forward to meet you in future," Hasina wrote to the longest-serving chief minister of West Bengal.

She also expressed confidence that the friendship between India and Bangladesh would be strengthened in the coming days.Basu had openly congratulated Hasina immediately after the Awami League's landslide victory some time ago.

In a congratulatory speech, Basu recalled the role of Hasina's father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and described him as the architect of Bangladesh. He also recalled his association with Hasina during her earlier tenure as prime minister of Bangladesh.

The two leaders had last met in 2006, when Hasina, then opposition leader in Bangladesh, visited Basu's house in Kolkata. They met for around 40 minutes, where Hasina thanked Basu for his role in signing the Indo-Bangladesh Ganges water sharing accord.

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