New Delhi: CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury has said Arjun Singh never forgave him for the left party's decision of not allowing Jyoti Basu to become the Prime Minister during the United Front days.
Yechury said that Singh played an important role in the formation of the United Front which came to power after the defeat of the 13-day Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in the confidence vote.
While, H D Deve Gowda became the Prime Minister, "Arjun Singhji, probably never forgave me for the decision by taken CPI(M) central committee in not allowing Jyoti Basu to become the Prime Minister of India", Yechury said.
In a piece titled 'The honour of being a colleague' brought out by the Arjun Singh Sadbhavana Foundation started by the departed leader's wife Saroj Kumari, the CPI(M) General Secretary paid glowing tributes to Singh.
Yechury said as Human Resource Development minister at the Centre in 2004 the re-establishment of the secular democratic character and content of the Indian educational system was an "audacious task that he undertook admirably".
The article is published in 'Sadbhavana', a souvenir brought out recently by the foundation, also has pieces from leaders across the political hue.
Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit hailed Singh as one of the tallest leaders of twentieth century India. She said his split with the governance of P V Narsimha Rao was based on principles and "not on his desire for self aggrandizement".
Sharad Pawar, who had been on the opposite side of Singh in the Congress during the Narsimha Rao days and also during UPA tenure, also hailed the departed leader's contribution not only to Madhya Pradesh and Congress but also on the national political scenario.
BJP leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Sudarlal Patwa described Singh as "my close friend".
He narrated an incident when he had invited Singh as chief guest on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Deen Dayal Upadhyay. "First he hesitated a bit, but then he accepted the invitation and in the speech he criticised in a gentle manner too. He had to face much criticism for participating in the function. I pay my respects to him," said Patwa.
Patwa recalled that in the state Assembly both were known as staunch opponents but outside as close friends. "We had close ties," he said.