Kolkata: There were moments of eerie silence between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary at Victoria Memorial, Kolkata on Saturday.
In his first visit to West Bengal in the run-up to the Assembly elections, PM Modi said, “Netaji had dreamt of a strong India… from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to the Line of Control (LOC), we are following his footsteps.”
He announced that Netaji’s birth anniversary (January 23) henceforth would be celebrated as ‘Parakram Divas’. Ahead of the PM’s visit to Kolkata, Banerjee had taken a dig at the BJP saying her party did not celebrate Netaji’s anniversary only when elections were around.
It is pertinent to mention that, the BJP and ruling Trinamool Congress in Bengal are engaged in a bitter tussle over the celebrations of Netaji’s birth anniversary.
Banerjee erupted in fury due to the chants of ‘Jai Sri Ram’ during a programme on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at Victoria Memorial. In a rare joint appearance with PM Modi, the CM refused to speak as chants of ‘Jai Sri Ram’ was heard from the audience. “I am insulted as it is not any political rally. It is a government programme to celebrate the birth anniversary of Netaji. After calling me such an insult was not expected. I will not speak at this event,” said Banerjee, thanking the PM for attending the event. The PM referred to Mamata Banerjee as his ‘behen’ (sister).
Earlier in day, she had lashed out at the Centre over the naming of Netaji’s birth anniversary as “Parakram Diwas”. She had urged the Centre to declare it as a National Holiday and also ‘Desh Nayak Diwas’ as Rabindranath Tagore had bestowed the title of Desh Nayak on Netaji.
BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya took to Twitter and alleged that Banerjee had ‘insulted’ the memory of Netaji and that ‘Bengal will not tolerate this disregard of its icons’.
BJP Bengal observer Kailash Vijayvargiya mentioned that after Rabindranath Tagore Mamata Banerjee had ‘insulted’ Netaji.
The PM inaugurated postal stamps and a dedicated galleries ‘Nirbhik Subhas’ (Fearless Subhas) and ‘Biplabi Bharat’ to celebrate 125 th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The PM also said that once Netaji wanted to go to Delhi to free India and today Delhi is coming to Kolkata to celebrate the birthday of the biggest saint.