West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rued that the Central government has not yet declared Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birthday as a national holiday.
Addressing a gathering in Darjeeling on the occasion of Netaji’s 122nd birth anniversary on Wednesday, the Trinamool Congress chief said that it is the West Bengal government which is keeping the legacy of the freedom fighter alive.
“It is sad that the Central Government has still not announced Netaji’s birth anniversary as a national holiday; the Bangla Government has already done so,” she said referring to the decision taken by her government in 2014.
“No government at the Centre has done this so far. They still do not give him his deserved respect as a national leader,” she added.
Banerjee’s comment came on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a museum at Red Fort dedicated to Netaji and the Indian National Army (INA).
Banerjee said that it is a matter of shame that the death of Netaji has remained a mystery even after 70 years of Independence.
“It is a matter of shame that we still do not know anything about his demise. We do not know where and how he died or what happened to him,” she said.
Banerjee also did not lose the opportunity to take a jibe at her opponents.
Without naming anyone, the 64-year-old Banerjee said, “The one who can take everybody along, who can give his life for the country is the one who is fit to lead the country. The one who is intent on breaking the nation up into pieces, creating divisions among its people can never lead it.”
Hailing the iconic freedom fighter, considered by many as the greatest son of India, Banerjee said that even Gorkhas from Nepal had enlisted in Bose’s Indian National Army.
In Darjeeling, the CM said that while her government is doing work for the development of the hilly regions of West Bengal, the Centre has only made promises.
“A secretariat for north Bengal has been constructed in Siliguri, a university has been set up – whatever needs to be done for the people of the Hills, we are doing,” she said.
“They (the Centre) have not done any work, have done nothing for the betterment of the people in the Hills region. They only make promises before elections which forget soon after,” Banerjee added.
The TMC chief had on 19 January organised a massive anti-BJP rally attended by nearly every opposition leader of the country in the heart of Kolkata. The rally was organised to project the so-called mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) as a united front as well as propel Banerjee on the national stage ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.