Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attacked the centre for failing to declare the day a national holiday and build a memorial for the freedom fighter.
The political atmosphere in West Bengal is already heating up in the lead up to the assembly polls to be held after a couple of months. The issue over which both TMC and BJP clashed today was the legacy of iconic freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
On his 124th birth anniversary, both parties were locked in a war of words over who better honours the legendary figure.
Hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to arrive in Kolkata to participate in a series of events to honour Netaji’s memory, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attacked the centre for failing to declare the day a national holiday and build a memorial for the freedom fighter.
“I protest the centre’s decision to not yet declare Netaji’s birth anniversary as a national holiday. You are building new parliament and buying new planes… why no memorial for Netaji?” the West Bengal CM asked at the end of her long 6 km march through the state capital.
“You can name any port after Shyama Prasad Mukherjee… we have no objection. But I got Rajiv Gandhi to name Kolkata airport after Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose,” Ms Banerjee added.
The Trinamool supremo was pointing towards the centre’s decision in January last year to rename Kolkata Port Trust after the founder of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, which later evolved into the BJP.
Mamata Banerjee also came down on centre for abolishing the Planning Commission conceptualised by Netaji and replacing it with the NITI Aayog. “The centre has to bring back the Planning Commission,” she said.
She also raised objection over the centre for choosing to call today ‘Parakram Diwas‘, instead of ‘Deshnayak Diwas‘ as she wanted.
“What is the meaning of ‘Parakram Diwas‘? If you did not want to consult me, you could have consulted Sugata Bose (Netaji’s grand-nephew, the Chairman of the Netaji Research Bureau and a former Trinamool MP)? If your action is wrong, we will give you a reaction,” Ms Banerjee said.
“I don’t understand the word ‘parakram‘… I understand his (Netaji’s) ‘desh prem‘. Netaji is a philosophy… an emotion… he believed in the unity of religions,” she said in the morning.
“Why have we declared today ‘Deshnayak Diwas‘? Because Tagore gave him the title… because Netaji gave Tagore’s song recognition as anthem,” she added.
She also said that India must have four alternative capital cities. She said that the British ruled the entire country from Kolkata. “I believe that India must have 4 alternate capitals. The English ruled the entire country from Kolkata. Why should there be only one capital city in our country.”