Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's birth anniversary celebrations runs into controversy

The Mamata Banerjee government today courted controversy by shifting the 116th birth anniversary celebrations from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's statue on the Maidan to his ancestral house at Elgin Road, with the All India Forward Bloc saying there was no need for it.

"There was no need to change the venue of Netaji's birthday celebrations. Why did they do it? Whom did you insult?" Forward Bloc leader H A Sairani asked and questioned the chief minister why she did not attend the programme at the traditional venue where AIFB state secretary Ashok Ghosh was present.

Sairani said Left Front Chairman Biman Bose and he had recently written to the chief minister suggesting a joint programme by the Netaji Janmotsav Committee and the state government to celebrate Netaji's birthday, but there was no response.

"The chief minister did not bother to discuss with us. I am shocked. By shifting the venue of Netaji birthday programme, she has created a precedence," he said.

Sairani alleged that no intimation was given to the committee by the state government that the venue had been shifted to Netaji Bhavan.

"Ashok Ghosh at his old age himself supervised the arrangements at the old venue," he said.

On the the chief minister announcing that a monument would be erected to Netaji, Sairani said "the onus falls on her to prove that Netaji died."

AIFB state secretary Ashok Ghosh recalled that former chief minister B C Roy had offered to build a monument in memory of Netaji, and said "but our party leader late Hemanta Basu vehemently opposed the idea on the ground that there was no evidence or proof of Netaji's death."

Asked to comment on the state government's decision, Ghosh replied, "Our party's opposition still stands."

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