The daughter of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Anita Bose-Pfaff, on Friday welcomed as “a nice gesture” PM Modi's announcement to install a statue of the iconic freedom fighter at India Gate. She also hoped it will put at rest the controversy over rejection of West Bengal's R-Day tableau on ‘Netaji.’
The Trinamool Congress, too, welcomed the Centre's decision but seemed inclined to keep the controversy simmering and asserted that the announcement was aimed at fending off criticism over the rejection of West Bengal's tableau.
It fired another salvo saying that the real tribute would have been the unearthing of the mystery shrouding Netaji's disappearance. By its gesture, the Centre is only trying to divert attention from the flak it is getting, said party state general secretary Kunal Ghosh.
Party MP Sougata Roy was more stinging in his criticism and said after the rejection of the tableau on Netaji, the BJP's claim of respecting national icons stood “exposed”. “We welcome the decision. But we feel there is no harm in still allowing West Bengal’s tableau at the Republic Day parade. It was rejected due to narrow-minded politics. Now that the BJP and its theatrics have been exposed, it decided to install the statue,” Roy said.
PM Modi on Friday announced that a grand statue of the freedom fighter will be installed at India Gate as a symbol of the country's "indebtedness" to him. Till the granite statue is complete, a hologram would be visible on the pedestal. The prime minister further said that he will himself unveil the hologram on January 23, the 125th birth anniversary of the nationalist leader.
In a letter to PM Modi, TMC leader Mamata Banerjee had expressed "shock" at the rejection of the state's tableau. Apart from Bose, it also featured other Bengal icons such as Rabindranath Tagore, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo.
Bose’s daughter put the Centre’s decision in perspective, saying it was "better late than never". She admitted that the announcement took her by surprise. She recalled that last year itself the centenary celebrations had started, and there were announcements of all kinds. Even a committee (for celebrating Netaji's 125th birth anniversary) was set up, of which she was also a member. ‘‘The panel never called a meeting. As far as I know, I haven't heard about it. Then, suddenly, when the West Bengal government proposed the tableau, the central government turned it down...’’