President, PM and leaders across country pay tributes to Netaji on 125th birth anniversary

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New Delhi, Jan 23 (PTI) President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of political leaders including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee paid rich tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 125th birth anniversary on Saturday.

Prime Minister Modi said Netaji's birthday will be observed as 'Parakram Diwas' every year.

Programmes were held in many states to commemorate the freedom fighter with the main event held at the the Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata where Modi said Netaji would have been proud to see that the country has become strong and is following his footsteps from the Line of Control (LoC) to the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

'Netaji had dreamt of strong India, from LAC to LOC we are following his footsteps. Whenever our sovereignty was challenged, we have given a befitting reply,' he said.

The LoC divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan, while the LAC separates India and China.

President Kovind unveiled a portrait of Netaji at the Rashtrapati Bhavan to mark the beginning of year-long celebrations to commemorate the freedom fighter's 125th birth anniversary, according to an official statement.

Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu urged the youth to derive inspiration from the life of Netaji and lead from the front in building a 'New India' - a happy and prosperous nation where every citizen gets equal opportunities and where there is no discrimination.

The West Bengal Chief Minister paid homage to the revolutionary on his birth anniversary and urged the Centre to declare January 23 as a national holiday.

She also said a monument, named after the Azad Hind Fauj, will be built in Rajarhat area and a state-funded university, which is also being set up, will be dedicated to Netaji.

'....This year's Republic Day parade in Kolkata will be dedicated to Netaji. A siren will be sounded today at 12.15 PM. We urge everyone to blow shankh (conch) at home. Centre must also declare January 23 as a National Holiday.

'We are celebrating this day as #DeshNayakDibas. GoWB has also set up a committee to conduct year-long celebrations till January 23, 2022,' Banerjee said on Twitter.

She also kicked off a 7-km procession in Kolkata to pay tribute to Netaji on his birth anniversary.

During his visit to Kolkata, Modi visited Netaji's ancestral house and also inaugurated a commemorative stamp and coin to mark his 125th birth anniversary. The PM also paid floral tributes at Netaji’s statue at the city’s National Library.

The prime minister also greeted participants in an international conference on 'Revisiting the legacy of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose' at Belvedere House to mark his 125th birth anniversary.

The central government has decided to observe January 23 as 'Parakram Diwas' to commemorate the birth anniversary of Bose, who was born on this day in 1897.

Banerjee, however, said Netaji was described as 'Deshnayak' by Rabindranath Tagore. 'We are celebrating his birthday day as Deshnayak Diwas,” she said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah paid tributes to Netaji on his birth anniversary on Saturday and said the youngsters of the country were united under his charismatic leadership, which gave new strength to India's freedom struggle.

In a series of tweets in Hindi, he said children and youngsters can take inspiration from Netaji's contribution to the country's independence and help build a self-reliant India.

'The courage and valour of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose gave new strength to the Indian freedom struggle. He organised the youngsters of the country with his charismatic leadership under adverse circumstances. On the 125th birth anniversary of such a great hero of the freedom movement, I pay my heartfelt tributes,' Shah said.

The home minister, who is on a two-day visit to Assam and Meghalaya, also paid tributes to Bose in front of his portrait in Guwahati.

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar unveiled a portrait of Netaji at the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata on his 125th birth anniversary.

Eastern Army commander Lt General Anil Chauhan, Netaji's family member Chandra Kumar Bose and BSF Additional Director General Pankaj Singh were among the dignitaries present at the ceremony.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray paid floral tributes to the founder of the Indian National Army at 'Matoshree', his private residence in Mumbai.

State Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in a statement said, 'Gandhiji's and Bose's ideals for freedom were two sides of the same coin.' Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said India's freedom was the top priority for Netaji, and thanked the Prime Minister for making his birth anniversary as 'Parakram Divas'.

Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the biggest tribute to Netaji would be to keep aside differences and work towards creating a strong future of the nation through better education Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar and a host of other leaders from the two states also paid homage to Bose.

Haryana's Home Minister Anil Vij, Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma, Haryana BJP chief O P Dhankar, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Congress' chief spokesperson, former Haryana minister Randeep Singh Surjewala and Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja, were among other leaders from the two states who paid tributes to Bose on his birth anniversary. PTI RDM RDM