Why Netaji has become important for BJP in Bengal?

New Delhi: Marking the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the BJP is engaged in connecting with the sentiments of the people of West Bengal. The programme will continue for the whole year. This comes ahead of the high-voltage West Bengal Assembly polls later this year.

The Modi government has set up a high-level committee to outline the programmes that will run throughout the year from January 23. The ruling Trinamool Congress plans to attack its arch rival BJP in the Bengal electoral battle.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says that the BJP has only become a ‘devotee of Netaji’ as the election draws near. The political battle in Bengal between the two parties has not left Bose’s legacy untouched.

But the BJP dismisses the talk of linking Bose’s birth anniversary with the election. West Bengal BJP state vice-president Ritesh Tiwari told IANS that people who questioned the BJP’s intention to celebrate Bose’s 125th birth anniversary were politically motivated.

So what is the BJP’s strategy behind celebrating Bose’s birth anniversary for the first time? Political analysts consider the West Bengal election to be the reason behind this. The popularity of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in Bengal is not hidden from anyone. He is considered as the pride of Bengal. It is believed that through his birth anniversary, the BJP is trying to tell the people of Bengal that it is the protector of Bengali identity.

Ever since Mamata Banerjee started calling BJP leaders as outsiders, the saffron party has intensified its programmes eulogising Bengali icons. In December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised Rabindranath Tagore at Vishwa Bharati University.

The BJP says that Bose fought the freedom struggle from India right up to Europe, but he did not get the respect and recognition he deserved.

Tiwari told IANS, “Who says the BJP is showing love for Netaji for the first time? It was the BJP’s Vajpayee government which revealed the secrets of Netaji’s disappearance. The Mukherjee Commission was set up. When the BJP government came to power at the Centre again in 2014, Prime Minister Modi took the initiative to make public the files related to Netaji. He was honoured by hoisting the flag at the Red Fort with Netaji’s family.”

He described Bose as India’s first international leader and said that he succeeded in persuading other countries to help India. The BJP is special as it carries forward the legacy and principles and gives due respect to the great men of the country.

Tiwari said that the Modi government took the initiative to celebrate not only Bose’s but also the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi from last year. Even Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary party is celebrated with great enthusiasm. Great men do not belong to one party, he said.

The BJP and Trinamool Congress are trying to capitalise on the sentiments of the people through ‘Netaji Jayanti. Preparations are on to organize large-scale programs from both the parties. While the central government has constituted a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Modi to decide the programmes for the 125th birth anniversary, the Mamata Banerjee government also and set up a similar committee under the leadership of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.

The BJP will celebrate Bose’s birth anniversary on January 23 as ‘Parakram Divas’. In Bengal, BJP will hold meetings from village to cities while the Trinamool has announced to celebrate Bose’s birth anniversary as ‘Desh Nayak Divas’.


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