‘Netaji Was Against Divide & Rule’: Mamata Attacks Centre at Rally

The Quint
·4-min read

With months to go for the high-voltage Bengal elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee kicked off a mega procession in Kolkata to pay tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 125th birth anniversary. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also scheduled to pay his first visit to the state on Saturday.

At the rally, she attacked the central government, saying, “People who are trying to appropriate Netaji and Tagore don't follow their teachings. Netaji or Tagore never said break the country into two. We have always respected all leaders.”

Row Over Centre’s Decision to Call Netaji’s Birthday ‘Parakram Diwas’

Before her rally from Shyam Bazaar to Red Road in Kolkata, Banerjee paid a surprise visit to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's ancestral residence at Kolkata's Elgin Road, where she criticised the Centre's decision to announce 23 January as 'Parakram Diwas'. "I don't understand the meaning of 'Parakram Diwas'. We celebrate the day as 'Desh Nayak Diwas'," she said.

At the rally, CM Banerjee said, “I protest the Centre’s decision to not yet declare Netaji‘s birth anniversary a national holiday," adding, “What is the meaning of the Parakram Diwas? If you didn't want to consult me, (you) should've consulted Saugata Bose.”

“I would like to voice my dissent against the central government's decision to never observe his (Netaji Subhash Chandra) birth anniversary, before today,” added Banerjee while addressing the rally.

Meanwhile, Netaji’s grand nephew, CK Bose, said, as quoted by ANI, “It is a good decision by the Centre to celebrate Netaji's 125th birth anniversary as Parakram Diwas across the country. Many people sacrificed their lives in the freedom struggle of India but the final fight was fought by the Azad Hind Fauj.”

Earlier in the day, Banerjee had tweeted: "The state government celebrates this occasion as 'Deshnayak Diwas'. He was a true leader & strongly believed in unity of all people.”

"Do you know why we celebrate the day as 'Desh Nayak Diwas', because Rabindranath Tagore used to call Netaji by that... Netaji should be understood with emotions. There were very few people who had the same amount of love for their motherland as him. Though we all know (about) his birthday, we are unaware of the details of his death," she said.

Earlier in the day, PM Modi had tweeted, “I bow before India's great son Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose - a great freedom fighter and true son of Mother India, on his birth anniversary. A grateful nation will always remember his sacrifice and dedication for the independence of the country. #ParakramDivas.”

He will be in Kolkata later, participating in two programmes – one at the National Library and the other at the Victoria Memorial Hall.

The West Bengal government has already set up a committee to conduct year-long celebrations till 23 January 2022 across the state. It has also announced that a monument, named after the Azad Hind Fauj, will be built at Rajarhat. Banerjee further said that a university, named after Bose, is being set up, which shall be funded entirely by the state and will have tie-ups with foreign universities.

(With inputs from IANS.)

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