Bengal govt rolls out Netaji tableau in Kolkata; TMC, BJP trade charges
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of not honouring Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 125th birth anniversary.
KOLKATA: The West Bengal government on Wednesday rolled out its tableau on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at the Republic Day parade at Kolkata’s Red Road, days after it was rejected by the Centre for the parade at Raj Path in New Delhi.
The rejection triggered a tussle between the state and the Centre with chief minister Mamata Banerjee accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of not honouring Bose on his 125th birth anniversary. She also shot a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After union defence minister Rajnath Singh replied to Banerjee, saying a tableau on Netaji and the Indian National Army wasmade by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) for the event in Delhi, TMC leaders said the job of paying homage to Bengal’s biggest freedom fighter should not been entrusted with a department that builds roads and bridges.
Even as Wednesday’s event at Red Road was attended by Banerjee, governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, assembly speaker Biman Banerjee, Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim, senior bureaucrats, more than a dozen foreign diplomats and senior officers of the armed forces, the leader of the opposition in the assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, alleged that he was not invited.
“This is the first time the leader of the opposition was not invited to the state’s official Republic Day programme. This was done because Banerjee cannot forget that I defeated her at Nandigram in the assembly polls last year, forcing her to get re-elected from Kolkata. Man has invented the cure for cancer but there is no cure for jealously,” Adhikari said. He celebrated the day at his constituency in East Midnapore district.
TMC leaders countered Adhikari. “Adhikari never attends any official programme. He was absent from the Independence Day event last year,” said the Kolkata mayor while Trinamool Congress (TMC) state general secretary Kunal Gosh said Adhikari had gone mad.
“If Adhikari was so keen on witnessing the parade he could have gone to Red Road on his own. Nobody would have stopped him,” Ghosh added.
The BJP also took potshots at the chief minister who maintained her distance from Dhankhar during the event. The two were seen talking for around 30 seconds after the governor approached the chief minister.
“Protocol says the chief minister should greet the governor when he arrives. Banerjee violated it,” said Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar.
TMC leaders did not react to the allegation although many in the ruling party said Banerjee’s behaviour was a fallout of the governor’s non-stop attacks on the state government.