Calcutta, Jan. 8: The state government and the CPM today embraced an offer made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, agreeing to hold long-distance consultations with AIIMS on Jyoti Basus condition.
The consultations — initially planned over video but converted into a teleconference after a link failure that prompted a venue shift — were held by doctors of the private hospital where Basu is admitted but the green light was given by the state government.
Yesterday, while visiting AMRI in Salt Lake, the Prime Minister had said he could arrange specialists but Basus medical board had decided against a request for the time being.
Sources in Writers Buildings said the Prime Ministers Office got in touch with the chief ministers secretariat and suggested the videoconference.
A PMO official told us that they would ask experts from AIIMS to interact with AMRI doctors through videoconferencing at 5.30pm today, said an official of the chief ministers secretariat.
Subesh Das, the chief ministers principal secretary, called up the official in Delhi and thanked him for the PMOs intervention.
But the videoconference could not take place because of connectivity glitches. The venue was shifted to Emami Towers, off EM Bypass, around 10km from the hospital, where the doctors had to rush as their AIIMS counterparts were waiting in Delhi and the teleconference was held.
For once, the CPM is not complaining about central intervention. Rather, the party is playing up Singhs role in an attempt to rile Mamata Banerjee who was neither at the airport nor at the hospital yesterday, apparently because of a railway event.
Today, the CPM mouthpiece carried a photograph and report on the Prime Ministers visit on the front page, leaving an inside page for party general secretary Prakash Karat, who also visited the hospital.
Unwittingly or otherwise, people were also reminded today of the Karat-supported historic blunder that denied Basu prime ministership when Deve Gowda made an indirect reference (see Metro). Basu had also opposed the withdrawal of support to Singhs first UPA.
CPM state secretary Biman Bose also underscored the point that the videoconference was taken up following the Prime Ministers offer.
Now some party leaders are hoping that Sonia Gandhi will visit Basu. We have heard she is coming. But we dont know when, said a CPM state secretariat member.