Lalu salutes Netaji

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By SHASHANK SHEKHAR
  • Published 23.01.09
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Gomoh, Jan. 23: Railway minister Lalu Prasad today paid a befitting tribute to Netaji by renaming Gomoh railway station, 35km from Dhanbad, as Subhas Chandra Bose Junction.

Addressing a large gathering here, the Union minister hailed Subhas Bose as one of the greatest leaders of the freedom movement. Had it not been for Netaji’s Azad Hind Fauj, today’s generation would have never had savoured freedom, he said.

“By renaming this station as Subhas Chandra Bose Junction, the country is paying a small tribute to a great national hero, who sacrificed his life to give us Independence. During the last few years of his life, he had been to Gomoh,” the RJD leader said.

Though Lalu, who arrived by train, kept his audience waiting for almost two hours, not many complained. In his rustic style, he heaped praises on Netaji, Chandrashekhar Azad, Sukhdev and others, and won roaring applause.

He met senior railway officials, but did not divulge much on what he discussed with them. The minister was given a rousing welcome by the students of Kendriya Vidyalaya and members of Bharat Scouts and Guides. Impressed, Lalu even gave away token awards to the participants of a cultural programme organised in his honour.

On the sidelines of today’s function, the RJD chief virtually kicked off an election campaign in support of the UPA government. He said that in the past five years the government had proved its mettle on national and international fronts. “It has earned India the tag of a responsible nation.”

Showering praise on the performance of the UPA government as well as on his own ministry, he said: “No government in the past had done so much to help the poor and maintain the secular fabric of the country, where everybody is safe, secure and feels proud to be an Indian.

“During the NDA rule, the Indian Railways was called a white elephant and there were proposals to to privatise it and layoff employees. It is needless to say what I have done for the railways. After taking over the ministry, I showed a profit of Rs 10,000 crore in the very first year. I assure you a profit of Rs 100,000 crore by the end of this fiscal before Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

“When other nations are feeling the pinch of slowdown, I assure you I will give jobs to thousands. This is possible due meticulous planning and team work,” he said.

Lalu’s hurricane trip to Gomoh lasted a little more than an hour. He left for Bihar on a special train.

Be it attacks on Mumbai, Delhi or other places, nation stood united keeping its secular image intact and the UPA government provided right direction which is appreciated world wide, he said.

After Mumbai attacks, the Opposition was talking about launch surgical strikes on terrorist training camps in pockets of Pakistan and PoK, but kept our cool and decided to wage a diplomatic war on Pakistan, said Prasad.

“The world is heading for a big change and the election of Obama as the President of the US is also symbol of change. India is also for a big change and its population has now turned into an asset with vast human resources which impressed me when I went to Japan recently. The Indians are respected worldwide for their merit and hardwork,” he said.