In her tribute to the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his 125th birthday celebration at the state assembly on Friday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called him “a true statesman who was the architect of a modern, secular India”.
“There can be differences in opinion but those who are great will always be remembered by the masses. People like Nehru cannot be confined to any political boundary. He talked of unity in diversity, he was a true socialist. I salute to him,” the chief minister said.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Surya Kanta Mishra, said Nehru, and particularly his secular role, is still very much relevant in today’s India.
Mamata also spent time with school children at her Assembly chamber on the occasion of Children’s Day and also unveiled a portrait of Matangini Hazra at the Assembly. “People like Matangini Hazra, who laid their lives for the nation, are an example for us to follow,” she said.
The chief minister, after the ceremony, also spoke about her upcoming visit to New Delhi on the invitation by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to attend Nehru’s birthday centenary celebration.
“There was this closing ceremony of the Kolkata Film Festival on November 17 which I was supposed to attend. But the invitation (from Sonia Gandhi) to join Nehruji’s birthday came along with a call from Ahmed Patelji (Gandhi’s political secretary) to join the ceremony in Delhi. So I cancelled my visit to the film festival and decided to go to Delhi,” she said.
The CM will leave for Delhi on November 16, two days before her planned visit to the national capital where she was expected to invite President Pranab Mukherjee to join the Biswa Bangla Sanmelan (global summit for investors) to be organised by the West Bengal government on January 7 and 8 in Kolkata.
The Congress’s ceremony in Delhi will also likely be attended by CPI(M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury who will share the dais with the chief minister.