Modi to meet Netaji family, hails people’s power (Roundup)

New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he will meet 50 members of freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose’s extended family in October.

Modi announced this in his monthly Mann ki Baat radio address during which he also touched on the strength of “people’s power” and how khadi sales had doubled in just a year.

The prime minister said he went to the Kolkata house of the legendary Bose in May and chatted with the family members.

He invited the entire family to his official residence. Fifty members of the Bose family from different parts of the world had accepted the invite.

“I am happy I will have the privilege of welcoming 50 members of the Bose family at the prime minister’s house. I don’t think the Bose family has ever had the occasion to have visited the PM’s house together,” he said.

Modi’s announcement comes at a time when the West Bengal government has declassified 64 files related to Bose and his disappearance in August 1945 in an alleged air crash in Taihoku, Taiwan.

The BJP-led government has been reticent on the subject of de-classifying around 130 files related to Bose. On Saturday, union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said the government will take a decision on their declassification only after studying their impact on India’s ties with other countries.

Bose, once the Congress president, made contact with the Axis powers during World War II. He formed the Indian National Army in Singapore, with the help of the Japanese, and fought the British Indian Army.

In his radio speech, Modi mentioned how Bose had made radio a powerful tool to reach out to people by launching the Azad Hind Radio.

In his address, Modi also praised the Election Commission, saying from a regulator it had become a facilitator and voter friendly.

His comments come as the poll panel overruled Congress objections to the Mann ki Baat ahead of the Bihar assembly polls and allowed its broadcast.

Modi said the sale of khadi had doubled since he urged people to buy khadi in his first radio address a year ago. On Sunday, he urged people to purchase khadi products in the upcoming festival season.

“I urge you all to give space to khadi in your homes this Diwali.”

Modi praised “people power” by saying that his appeals to promote khadi and to give up cooking gas subsidy had fetched tremendous response.

He said he had learnt the power and reach of democracy through his monthly address.

“Mann ki Baat has taught me a lot, about the strength that lies in the hands of the common people to bring changes in society.”

He said his simple suggestions made on the radio had fetched “response in lakhs”.

Modi said his appeal to people to suggest how to improve governance had fetched massive response, with people writing to All India Radio or to his web site.

Giving more examples of “people power”, Modi said his mention of “selfie with daughter” had fetched a huge response. “The daughter got so much pride. This was like a silent revolution.”

Similarly, his appeal to send photos of interesting spots from across India had proved a hit.

Also, his suggestion that people give up the subsidy on cooking gas had prompted 30 lakh families to respond positively.

He said many of them were from lower middle class. “Is this not a silent revolution?”

The prime minister said people had also telephoned to give suggestions on beter governance.

The 55,000 calls came from all parts of India, from Siachen in the north to Kutch in the west, from Kamrup in the east to Kanyakumari in the south.

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