As the dates for the 2021 West Bengal Assembly Election inche ahead, slowly but surely, the various political quarters are engaged in raising their respective agendas to secure the public consensus ahead of the polls. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, determined to not lose out on the nationalistic discourse, has now demanded that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose be given his due respect in India's hall of fame of patriotic heroes.
In light of this, Mamata Banerjee on Monday demanded that January 23, Netaji's birth anniversary, be declared as a national holiday in the memory of the Azad Hind Sena's founder.
"I personally feel we haven't done anything important for Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose after independence. I've written a letter to the Centre to declare 23rd January, birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, as a national holiday. It is my demand," news agency ANI quoted Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, as saying.
She further said that 'Desh Nayak Diwas' will be celebrated in West Bengal on January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
"On January 23, a rally will be taken out from Shyambazar to the Netaji Statue in Kolkata at 12:15 pm, along with the police band. A tableau will also be displayed on the theme based on Netaji's life on January 26," the West Bengal Chief Minister declared.
She further appealed to everyone in the country to blow conch at 12:15 PM on January 23 to pay tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on the latter's birth anniversary.
Moreover, Mamata reiterated her demand that the central government should declassify all files related to Bose.
Notably, the West Bengal Chief Minister has repeatedly insisted that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his contributions to the country's freedom movement has long been "neglected".
Even after 75 years of his "disappearance", people have no clue about what happened to Netaji, she said.
"These days, priority is being given to people who at that time protested the fight for independence. It is being done to make people forget the truth," Banerjee had told reporters at the state secretariat in November last year.
Allegations have been made on several occasions in the past that the history of the country was being "rewritten" in some states in favour of right-wingers.
He said that I personally feel that we have not done anything important for Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose after independence. I have written to the Centre to declare the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose (23rd January) as a national holiday and that is my demand.
She maintains that her government had declassified all the files it had related to Netaji, but the BJP-led Centre failed to fulfil its promise in this regard.
"We have made public all files related to Netaji. The Centre had promised before coming to power that it would declassify documents on Netaji. But they have not done so, as a result of which the mystery hasnt been solved. We believe it will done this year (it might be revealed)," she had said.
Banerjee had in September 2015 declassified 64 files related to Bose.
In the subsequent year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had put in the public domain 100 secret files on the freedom fighter.
None of the document, however, threw sufficient light on Netaji's "mysterious disappearance".
Incidentally, Banerjee had on November 18, 2020, written to Modi seeking his "personal intervention" for declaring Bose's birthday on January 23 as a national holiday.
She had also urged the PM to personally see that the central government was taking appropriate measures to give a conclusive picture on the national leader's "disappearance".
(With inputs from agencies)