KOLKATA: Heat in Bengal’s politics soared on the day of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary after CM Mamata Banerjee demanded four separate national capitals in the country including Kolkata.
Her demand came shortly before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft touched the runway of Kolkata airport. She also raised question on the Centre’s unilateral decision to celebrate January 23 as Parakram Diwas (day of valour). Mamata led a march along a 5.5 km-stretch from Shyambazar to Red Road with her followers. She inaugurated Netaji’s birthday celebration by blowing a conch shell and visited Netaji Bhavan.
Modi is scheduled to attend a slew of events, including inauguration of exhibitions on the freedom movement involving Netaji, an initiative of Ministry of Culture, at Victoria Memorial.
"The British ruled the entire country from Kolkata. Why should there be only one capital in our country? Why not four national capitals in North, South, East and West. Why can't we hold four parliament sessions on rotation basis," asked Mamata Banerjee, while addressing a gathering at the end of the procession.
She also instructed her party MPs to raise the demand for four parliament houses.
Referring to Netaji’s deep-rooted connection to Kolkata, the CM took a dig at the Centre’s decision to celebrate the Bengal icon’s 125th birth anniversary nationwide. "We celebrate Netaji’s birthday every year. We don’t celebrate it only in the year of the election," she said.
Castigating Modi’s announcement renaming the Netaji Port to Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Port, Mamata said, "If they are so concerned about Netaji, why they have changed the name of Netaji Port? Netaji had the foresight to conceptualise a Planning Commission and the Indian National Army before the Independence. BJP claims to follow Nataji’s ideology and at the same time, they scrap the Planning Commission."
When the Centre marked Netaji’s birthday as Parakram Diwas, Mamata named the day as Desh Nayak Diwas (day of the national hero). "What is Parakram Diwas? How could they make the decision without consulting the state government," she said.
Sugata Bose, the director of Netaji Research Bureau, said he doesn’t prefer to call Netaji birth anniversary Parakram Diwas. "Netaji was not only a fighter. He was a person with a vision," he said.