‘Netaji speech inspired my Prez speech’

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President Pranab Mukherjee described Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose as a "real icon" for the youths and said the freedom fighter's 1938-speech as Congress president inspired him to draft his own acceptance speech on becoming the head of state.

"When I drafted my acceptance speech on being elected as the President of the Republic — and that is one speech which I had to draft myself...what struck me first... please let me go through the address of Subhash Chandra Bose as Congress President. And there I got the inspiration," Mukherjee said at a function to commemorate Netaji's 116th birth anniversary at his ancestral home in Kolkata on Sunday.

Referring to a letter written by Bose to chief ministers (then called premiers) of eight Indian provinces where the Indian National Congress had formed governments in 1937, Mukherjee said it provided the basic ingredients which later formed the directive principles of the Constitution. He said the concept of Five-Year plans was a part of the freedom fighter's vision for governance of India after Independence.

"Subhash Chandra Bose gave the clarion call and laid the basic foundation about the responsibilities and duties of independent India 10 years before the actual liberation. He not only conceptualised and articulated the concept of planning, planned economic development but the very fact that he appointed the Planning Commission under the chairmanship of Jawaharlal Nehru, with Dr Meghand Saha as the member, clearly indicated what was his ideals of the government were after the independence," he added.

Mukherjee said he had the privilege of visiting the historic house several times. "I had the privilege of paying homage to this great son of India who fought for the country's liberation till the last moment of his life", he added.

"I pay my respectful homage to this great son of India whose life was nothing but a story of sacrifice and service," he said.

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