West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday paid a surprise visit to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s ancestral residence at Kolkata’s Elgin Road where she criticised the Centre’s decision to announce January 23 as ‘Parakram Diwas’.

“I don’t understand the meaning of ‘Parakram Diwas’. We celebrate the day as ‘Deshnayak Diwas’,” Banerjee said.

Earlier in the day, Banerjee tweeted saying: “The state government celebrates this occasion as ‘Deshnayak Diwas’. Netaji was a true leader and strongly believed in unity of all people,” she added.

“Do you know why we celebrate the day as ‘Deshnayak Diwas’ because Rabindranath Tagore used to call Netaji by that… Netaji should be understood with emotions. There were very few people who had the same amount of love for their motherland as him. Though we all know his birthday, we are unaware of the details of his death,” she said.

On the occasion of commemorating 125th birth anniversary of Bose, the Centre had declared January 23 as ‘Parakram Diwas’ to honour the boundless courage and valour of Bose.

Banerjee further said that Bose doesn’t require anyone’s mercy at all.

The West Bengal government has already set up a committee to conduct year-long celebrations till January 23, 2022 across the state. It also announced that a monument, named after Azad Hind Fauj, will be built at Rajarhat. Banerjee also said that a university, named after Bose, is being set up which shall be funded entirely by the state, and will have tie-ups with foreign universities.

The Chief Minister will participate in a grand march from Kolkata’s Shyambazar five-point crossing to Red Road on Saturday. “A siren will be sounded today at 12.15 pm. We urge everyone to blow ‘Shankh’ (conch shell) at home,” she said, demanding that the Centre must also declare January 23 as a national holiday.

Banerjee said that this year’s Republic Day parade in Kolkata would also be dedicated to Bose.

–IANS

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