Updated: January 24, 2021 4:15:50 am
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the BJP continued their fight over the legacy of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on Saturday, leaving no stones unturned to commemorate his birth anniversary.
Addressing a rally to mark the occasion after visiting Netaji Bhavan and leading a six-kilometre march, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the Centre for celebrating the day as “Parakram Diwas [Day of Valour]. The TMC chief asked the Centre what “Parakram” is. Banerjee said since Netaji was a “Deshbhakt [patriot]” and the “star of the country”, the state government was paying tribute to him by celebrating the day as “Desh Nayak Diwas [Day of the National Hero]”.
The chief minister said, “We have observed ‘Desh Nayak Divas’ today. Rabindranath Tagore called Netaji ‘Desh Nayak’. What is this ‘Parakram’?
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, chairman of the Netaji Research Bureau and a former Trinamool MP)? If your action is wrong, we will give you a reaction.”
She added, “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. Why have we declared today ‘Deshnayak Diwas’? Because Tagore gave him the title…because Netaji gave Tagore’s song recognition as the anthem.”
Banerjee concluded the six-km rally by raising the slogans of “Jai Hind”, “Subhas Bose Zindabad”, and “Joy Bangla”.
Earlier in the day, the chief minister led the rally from Shyambazar five-point crossing, where she paid homage at Netaji’s statue. She blew a conch shell to mark his birth anniversary. The state government had earlier asked people to mark the occasion by blowing conch shells and ululating at 12.15 pm, the time of Bose’s birth.
Apart from cabinet ministers and government officials, a large number of people, including party leaders and workers, participated in the rally. Throughout the march route, the TMC had erected makeshift stages from where flower petals were showered on the chief minister. TMC workers chanted slogans for Netaji as well as Banerjee. The march concluded at the Netaji statue on Red Road.
Meanwhile, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar criticised the chief minister’s comments. After unveiling a portrait of Netaji, he said, “Don’t oppose everything just for the sake of opposition.”
BJP leaders also paid tribute to Bose in different parts of Kolkata and across the state since the morning. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh paid tribute at the Netaji statue on Red Road.
The Centre had decided to observe Bose’s birth anniversary every year as “Parakram Diwas” to inspire the youth to “act with fortitude in the face of adversity”. Soon after the Modi government’s announcement, Mamata Banerjee announced that her administration would celebrate the day as “Desh Nayak Diwas”. Recently, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Shekhar Roy had written a letter to Modi, demanding that pending files and a book on Netaji written by a Defence Ministry panel decades ago be made public.
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