Kolkata: Paying rich tributes to India's longest-serving speaker H.A. Halim, Left Front chairman Biman Bose on Wednesday stressed the need for following the ideals of secularism and intolerance cherished by the late Marxist leader.
Leaders cutting across political lines attended a condolence meet at the Ram Lila Maidan here and paid homage to former West Bengal assembly speaker Halim, who passed away on November 2 following cardiac arrest.
"At a time when the country is facing a growing wave of intolerance, the need is to follow Halim's footsteps and his cherished ideals of secularism and tolerance," Bose said in his address, describing the Marxist veteran as an epitome of secularism.
On the occasion, former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee talked about the personal rapport he shared with Halim who presided over the Bengal assembly from 1982 to 2011 -- a record 29 years.
"He had the rare distinction of an assembly speaker going on to become the chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the president of the World Federation of United Nations Association," said Chatterjee.
"I have many fond memories of him," he added.
Senior Trinamool Congress leader and the state's Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee heaped lavish praises on Halim's knowledge of parliamentary laws.
"Irrespective of political affiliation, he was always eager to advice the members of the house. His knowledge about parliamentary laws was legendary and he often used that knowledge and sarcasm to diffuse tension. I personally have learnt a lot from him," said Partha Chatterjee.
Congress leaders Manoj Chakraborty and O.P. Mishra, lone BJP legislator Samik Bhattacharya were among a host of political leaders who attended the meet.
CPI-M state secretary and Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra lauded Halim's leadership skills and said his absence was a big loss for those fighters for democracy.