Millennium Post

Netaji stood for secular India, says Mamata

Darjeeling: Pitching for secular and united India, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's clarion call seemed to gain fresh thrust on Thursday as she paid tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 123rd birth anniversary in Darjeeling.

"On this auspicious day, we all have to take oath to walk on Netaji's path and uphold the ideologies of secularism that the great leader had stood for," she stated.

The Chief Minister was present at Darjeeling Chowrasta for the commemoration of an event organised by the Information and Culture department.

The country needs leaders like Netaji who can take everybody along, she said and demanded that his birthday be declared a national holiday, Banerjee said.

Bose through his struggle for Independence had sent the message of respect for all faiths and the best tribute to the nationalist leader will be to work for a united India, she added.

"We do not know whether we will get another leader of Netaji's stature again. Netaji had raised the slogan for secularism. He always stood for people irrespective of religion or community. A leader of the country has to be like him. He must lead the people of the country irrespective of religion or community. He has to stand with all," the Chief Minister reiterated.

Banerjee said that on May 12, 1940, Bose had given a speech in Jhargram where he had slammed the Hindu Mahasabha. In his speech, Netaji had then stated that he would oppose any group creating divisions in the name of religion. He had further stated that the country needs to remain united and stand by each and every citizen in order to prosper.

"Netaji was a visionary. He had created the Planning Commission even before the country was independent. The BJP government has now dissolved it. After coming to power the BJP failed to disclose the Netaji files despite tall promises. It is a shame that we still don't know about Netaji's death even after 72 years of independence," she added.

The Chief Minister further criticised the BJP-led Union government for having failed to declare Netaji's birth anniversary as a national holiday. "Despite our repeated requests and despite his stature they have not declared the day as a national holiday."

Without naming the saffron brigade, she said: "Netaji had stated – Give me blood and I will give you freedom. Now they draw blood for their own political gains. So many people have died in the movement against CAA, NRC and NPR."

She also maintained that there is no secularism, democracy or freedom in the country now and attempts are being made to destroy the secular fabric of the nation.

"We will not allow any force to divide us. Come what may we will walk on Netaji's path. We will emerge victorious," Banerjee added.

The Chief Minister departed for Siliguri after the programme. She will be leaving for Kolkata on Friday.

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