Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to commemorate Netjai Subhash Chandra Bose on his 124th birth anniversary, Mamata Banerjee took out a massive rally in Kolkata to mark the occasion.

The West Bengal Chief Minister participated in the ‘padyatra’ from Shyambazar cross to Netaji’s statue in Red Road at the heart of the city with thousands of people walking behind her.

Before the rally, Banerjee on Saturday paid homage to the freedom fighter at his paternal home – Netaji Bhavan – and urged the Centre to declare January 23 as a national holiday.

At the beginning of her possession, the Trinamool Congress supremo also blew a conch shell and a siren was sounded at 12.15 pm, the time when Bose was born on this day in 1897.

“We do not celebrate Netaji”s birthday only in the years when elections are scheduled. We are celebrating his 125th birth anniversary in a grand fashion. Rabindranath Tagore described Netaji as Deshnayak. That is why we have decided to celebrate this day as Deshnayak Diwas,” she said.

“Netaji was one of the greatest freedom fighters of the country. He was a great philosopher,” she said.

She also said a monument, named after 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.

“A monument, named after Azad Hind Fauj, will be built at Rajarhat. A university named after Netaji is also being set up which shall be funded entirely by the state, and will have tie-ups with foreign universities,” Banerjee said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Centre has decided to observe January 23 as “Parakram Diwas” to celebrate the birth anniversary of Netaji.

Prime Minister Modi will begin his tour of Kolkata with a speech in an international seminar dedicated to Netaji at the National Library. Subsequently, he will travel to the Victoria Memorial.

Prominent Bengali celebrities will take part where Modi will commemorate Netaji’s birth anniversary celebrations at the Victoria Memorial hall.

The Prime Minister is also likely to pay his homage to the revolutionary at Netaji Bhavan.

With PTI inputs