Netaji would have been proud of today’s India, says PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the city on Saturday to honour the memory of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 125th birth anniversary, said the icon of the freedom movement would have been proud to see how strong the country had become.
Speaking in the presence of Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, governor Jagdeep Dhankar and other dignitaries at a programme held at Victoria Memorial, Modi said, "I sometimes wonder how Netaji would have felt if he had seen how a new and strong India is taking shape. "
But Mamata did not deliver her speech after BJP supporters interrupted her with chants of “Jai Shri Ram”.
"Government programmes should have some dignity," she said. "Don't insult me after calling me here. This is not a political programme. If you invite someone to a government programme, you should not insult them," Mamata said at the event, one of the rare occasions the Bengal chief minister shared the platform with the Prime Minister.
In his speech, Modi said, Bose would have also been proud that the government he dreamt of was fighting a pandemic with vaccines developed by it and gave a befitting reply whenever its sovereignty was challenged.
"I sometimes wonder how Netaji would have felt if he had seen how a new and strong India is taking shape," he said at the programme held to celebrate the day as 'Parakram Diwas'.
"Netaji had dreamt of a strong India, from LAC to LOC we are following his footsteps. Whenever our sovereignty was challenged, we have given a befitting reply," he said while adding that the country has a strong force and modern fighter aircraft such as Tejas and Rafale.
Modi also released a commemorative stamp and coin on the occasion, saying that Bose’s birth anniversary will be celebrated as ‘Parakram Diwas’ every year.
Before reaching the event at Victoria Memorial, the Prime Minister paid floral tributes at Netaji’s statue at the National Library in Calcutta. He also interacted with some of the artists as he went around seeing the paintings and folk art of Bengal.
The Prime Minister also greeted participants in an international conference on “Revisiting the legacy of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose” at Belvedere House to mark his 125th birth anniversary.
Modi was at the National Library for 18 minutes, accompanied by governor Dhankar.
Before this, the PM visited Netaji’s ancestral house in the afternoon. There, he was greeted with chants of “Jai Shri Ram” by people waiting outside Netaji Bhawan in the Bhawanipore area. The PM also waved at them.
He was received at the entrance of the house by Sugato Bose and his brother Sumantro Bose, the freedom fighter’s grandnephews. Modi was shown the ‘Wanderer’ car, which Netaji used to escape from Calcutta to Gomoh, said Sugato Bose.
The PM was also shown the bedrooms of Netaji and his brother Sarat Chandra Bose.
Modi was also given a quick walkthrough of the museum, which houses photographs of the Azad Hind Fauj. The PM was also shown the table used by Netaji in Singapore.
Hours before Modi arrived in the city, Mamata attacked the Centre for failing to declare the day a national holiday and build a memorial for the freedom fighter. "I protest the Centre's decision to not yet declare Netaji's birth anniversary as a national holiday. You are building a new Parliament and buying new planes... why no memorial for Netaji?" the chief minister said.
With Assembly elections now only a few months away, the events of the day, particularly the one at Victoria Memorial, invited retorts and counter-retorts from members of the BJP and Trinamul Congress, ndtv.com reported.
BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya was the first off the block, alleging that Ms Banerjee had "insulted" the memory of Netaji and that "Bengal will not tolerate this disregard of its icons".
Mamata Banerjee insulted the legacy of Rabindranath Tagore by refusing to attend Viswa Bharati’s centenary celebrations. She has done the same by not delivering her speech on the occasion of Netaji’s anniversary celebrations.— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) January 23, 2021
Bengal will not tolerate this disregard of its icons.
"Mamata Banerjee insulted the legacy of Rabindranath Tagore by refusing to attend Viswa Bharati's centenary celebrations. She has done the same by not delivering her speech on the occasion of Netaji's anniversary celebrations," he declared.
Trinamool MP Derek O'Brien hit back by tweeting the dictionary definition of the word 'dignity' and saying "you can(not) teach lumpens to be dignified".
dignity (noun) The state or quality of being worthy of honour and respect.— Derek O'Brien | ডেরেক ও'ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) January 23, 2021
You can’t teach ‘dignity’. Nor can you teach lumpens to be dignified.
Here is a one-min video of what exactly happened today. Including the dignified response by @MamataOfficial pic.twitter.com/aEQ3jF7CYf
"dignity (noun) The state or quality of being worthy of honour and respect. You can't teach 'dignity'. Nor can you teach lumpens to be dignified. Here is a one-min video of what exactly happened today. Including the dignified response by Mamata Banerjee," Mr O'Brien said.