We pressurised Centre for Netaji statue, says Mamata

Mamata, however, reminded the ruling BJP that mere installation of a statue would not \'end responsibility\'

Kolkata: In a startling revelation, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee claimed on Sunday it was her "pressure" which forced the Centre to decide to install the statue of iconic freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at the India Gate. She however reminded the ruling BJP that mere installation of a statue would not "end responsibility."

Paying tribute to Bose on his 125th birth anniversary at his statue on Red Road, the Trinamul Congress supremo told the Centre, "You are installing his statue only under our pressure. Didn't any thought of building a statue come to your mind for so long? Come here and see our statue which is live and not artificial. It inspires us everyday. Remember, installation of a statue does not end responsibility."

She added, "You built so many statues spending crores! But did you ever study the history of the country or try to protect it? Instead, you destroyed heritage and are now trying to wipe out history. Installation of a statue can not be everything. Netaji can not be loved by installing his statue and extinguishing Amar Jawan Jyoti."

Attacking the Narendra Modi government for failing to crack the mystery about the death of Bose, Ms Banerjee said, "Netaji left for abroad in a great escape. We still do not know what happened to him later. It has remained a mystery till date. This government had stated that it would unravel the entire mystery. But it did nothing. We already declassified the files on him public, digitized and archived it. But you failed to unravel the mystery about his death. The birthday can be written on his statue. But can you write the date of his death on it? None of us can do it. No one knows the history about it even after 75 years of our independence. Where did he go? Did he go missing?"

On the Centre's focus on the National War Memorial, the CM observed, "Netaji gave the first shape of today's Indian Army by raising INA. Today you are playing politics over a memorial. We salute all, be it the soldiers and common people who sacrificed their lives, at a war memorial. Martyrs can not be divided."

Ms Banerjee, protesting against the Centre for dropping her government's tableau on Bose at the Republic Day parade, asked, "What was the objection to the tableau? It could have been there. Earlier we had suggested something about unity between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. That was also rejected. We earlier participated in the R-Day parade on two consecutive occasions. We stood first in both. Why is there so much allergy and ignorance towards Bengal?"

She also announced the formation of a body like the Planning Commission, which was the brainchild of Bose and existed at the Centre, in the state. Earlier the CM tweeted, "We again appeal to the Central Government that Netaji’s birthday be declared a National Holiday to allow the entire Nation to pay homage to the National Leader and celebrate #DeshNayakDibas in the most befitting manner."

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