Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said that efforts were being made to destroy the secular fabric of the country, which Netaji Subash Chandra Bose had fought for. The CM was addressing a programme at Chowrastha here organised to mark the 123rd birth anniversary of Subash Chandra Bose.

“Netaji fought for Independence, and secularism, and had raised the slogan, ‘give me blood and I will give you your freedom,’ but today the BJP is bleeding the country for politics,” Miss Banerjee said. She added that in 1940, Netaji had refused to support the Hindu Mahasabha, fearing that the secular fabric of the country would be in danger.

“He had raised the slogan of secularism because he did not talk about one person. He fought for all the communities. On May 12, in his speech, Netaji had spoken the truth and refused to support the saffron organisation on the ground that they were merely interested in vote politics,” she said. Miss Banerjee also alleged that the BJP, with its Hindutva politics, was tarnishing the image of Hinduism.

“Hinduism is a universal religion and not for any one person, which even Swami Vivekandanda preached. We too are Hindus, but that does not mean we will not celebrate the festivals of other communities. People do not want such kind of leaders as they must lead the country taking everyone along together, irrespective of caste and religion,” she said.

The CM also demanded that Netaji’s birthday be declared a national holiday. “Leaders like Netaji may never be born again. The state of Bengal observes holiday on his birthday. However, the central government has refused to declare a national holiday, inspite of our demand. It is also a shame that the country does not know when and where Bose died even after 73 years,” she said.

The chief minister also said she would continue to fight for a secular country. “On his birth anniversary today, we pledge that we will follow the path shown by Netaji and Gandhiji. We will not budge even if we have to face anything and emerge victorious,” she said. The CM further said that the Hills want to stay together with others and development, “so why should I divide anyone?” “Like we chant slogans of ‘Jai Hind, Jai Bharat and Jai Bangla,’ in Darjeeling too, you can say ‘Jai Gorkha,’ as it is required because we must be proud and talk about our religion. There is no need to quarrel or mind for it,” the CM said.