Tussle Between Trinamool, BJP Over Netaji's 125th Birth Anniversary

While Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will lead a 6-km march in Kolkata, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will preside over inauguration of a permanent exhibition on Subhas Chandra Bose

Tussle Between Trinamool, BJP Over Netaji's 125th Birth Anniversary

Mamata Banerjee and PM Narendra Modi are scheduled to hold events on the same day

Kolkata:

The BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress are engaged in a tussle over the celebration of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's 125th birth anniversary on Saturday. While Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will lead a 6-km march in Kolkata, from Shyambazar in the north to Red Road in the heart of the city, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will preside over the inauguration of the celebrations in Kolkata, where a permanent exhibition on Subhas Chandra Bose at the Victoria Memorial will be opened.

Ms Banerjee's march in the morning will be a grand parade through the city. She has also said the Independence Day parade in the city will be dedicated to Netaji.

While the BJP has put in place its strong event management skills, Ms Banerjee seems to have also made her plans. "I request people from all sections of society and Indians who live abroad to blow a conch shell or do something similar at 12.15 pm, the time of Netaji's birth, on January 23. I request Indian missions across the globe to do it as well," Ms Banerjee appealed earlier this month.

PM Modi's event in the evening at Victoria Memorial will see Usha Uthup perform Rabindranath Tagore's 'Ekla Cholo Re' along with a choir.

A group of schoolchildren will perform 'Kadam Kadam Barhaye Ja', a song which was composed as a marching tune for Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army in 1942.

Singer Papon will present a song titled 'Subhashji Subhashji'. The fourth song at the event is another patriotic song, 'Dhono Dhane Pushpe Bhora'.

PM Modi will release a book 'Letters of Netaji'. The final song followed at the event will be 'Subh Sukh Chain', the  anthem of the INA, which will be presented by Usha Uthup, Papon and Soumyojit, joined by singers like  Annwesha, Somlata and others.

The state and the centre have already clashed over the declaration of 'Parakram Diwas'. Netaji's birth anniversary will be known as Parakram Diwas, according to the centre.

The state government had requested the centre to declare it as 'Desh Nayak Diwas' as Rabindranath Tagore had bestowed the title of Desh Nayak on Netaji.

Earlier demands to declare Netaji's birth anniversary as Desh Prem Diwas have also been ignored by the centre. The TMC has hit out at the BJP for not understanding the culture of Bengal and even the BJP's Chandra Bose, who is Subhas Chandra Bose's grandnephew, has also said Desh Prem Diwas is more appropriate that Parakram Diwas.

Ms Banerjee's March from the Netaji Statue at Shyambazar in north Kolkata will be a massive show of strength and an effort to showcase the Trinamool Congress's efforts to portray itself as a party of Bengal, which understands the traditions of Bengal while it terms the BJP leaders who fly in as "outsiders".

Ms Banerjee has also hit out at the BJP for abolishing the Planning Commission conceptualised by Netaji, Ms Banerjee said on Monday, adding her government would come up with a similar body to take ahead the Netaji's ideas and vision.

The Trinamool Congress has said that the day will be celebrated as Desh Nayak Divas in Bengal, adding that a "Jai Hind Monument" will be erected in Rajarhat near Kolkata. The slogan 'Jai Hind' was popularised by Netaji.

Ms Banerjee has proposed a National Cadet Corps-like organisation in state-run schools and colleges and to name it 'Azad Hind Bahini'.