Indisposed ex-West Bengal CM Buddhadeb fails to vote



An indisposed former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee did not cast his vote on Sunday in the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha polls.

The CPI-M stalwart is suffering from a progressive lung problem - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - and could not come out of his Palm Avenue residence to exercise his franchise, party sources said.

Bhattacharjee, suffering from the disease for years, now has to frequently resort to oxygen support for breathing properly. He also has a severe eye problem.

"He could not come," said his wife Meera Bhattacharjee, who cast her vote along with the couple's only daughter Suchetana.

However, she evaded giving any categorical reply to a direct question on whether the former CPI-M Politburo member could not come due to his health condition.

On whether Bhattacharjee was fine healthwise, she gave a short reply: "Yes".

Bhattacharjee was seen last in public on Februry 3, when he visited the Brigade Parade Ground to attend a rally called by the Left Front.

However, his was only a token presence, as he was not permitted by doctors to step out of his car because of the dust on the ground. He returned home after spending some time in his vehicle at the ground.

Bhattacharjee, who was Chief Minister from 2000-2011, undertook an all-out industrialisation drive to reduce unemployment in the state, but the measure proved counter-productive.

As his government tried to acquire land for setting up industries, the farmers revolted, and the Trinamool Congress fanned the discontent to gain in popularity and finally came to power in 2011, ending 34 years of Left Front rule.