Updated: January 23, 2022 10:02:00 pm
Tripura Opposition leader Manik Sarkar criticised the Centre for rejecting the proposed tableau of the West Bengal government themed on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose for the Republic Day parade in New Delhi. He also termed the Union government’s decision to install Netaji’s statue at the India Gate as a desperate attempt to save face.
Speaking to reporters after participating in a blood donation camp at Bamutia on the outskirts of Agartala on Sunday, Sarkar said: “They didn’t accept it (West Bengal’s tableau) and wanted it to be designed differently. This is the 75th year of India’s Independence and 125th birth anniversary year of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. So, what was the mistake of the West Bengal government in preparing a tableau themed on him for January 26?”
Recounting Bose’s contribution to India’s freedom struggle, Sarkar said the freedom fighter hailed from Bengal although he was born in Odisha.
Sarkar said the Centre not only rejected Bengal’s tableau but also those of Opposition-ruled states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu. “It seems that the states do not have any rights, powers or freedom. The federal system has almost become non-existent,” he said.
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The CPI(M) leader said the Centre’s decision to install Netaji’s statue at the India Gate was taken to “save face” after the three state governments protested and declined to acquiesce to the Centre’s suggestions on tableaux. “They can best tell how much respect for Netaji was involved in this,” he said in an apparent jibe at the Union government.
Sarkar’s support to Mamata Banerjee came amid clarifications issued by the Centre over the tableau row. Defence minister Rajnath Singh said Netaji’s contributions to the freedom struggle were unforgettable. In a bid to project that the Centre was not against the Mamata Banerjee-led government, the Union minister added that Bengal’s tableaux were selected for the Republic Day parade in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021.
Reacting to Sarkar’s comments, Tripura BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said, “It’s clear the CPI(M) has an understanding with the Trinamool Congress. Netaji is not a property of any political party. They (communists) insulted Netaji in several ways and were always against his ideology. The decisions to install Netaji’s statue at the India Gate and to rename three Andaman and Nicobar islands in honour of Netaji were taken during our government’s tenure… The CPI(M) is trying to politicize the issue over cheap goals.”
Meanwhile, the West Bengal government said it will use the Netaji-themed tableau at the Republic Day function in Kolkata.
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