Netaji's Anniversary Venue Shifted, Runs Into Controversy

The Mamata Banerjee government courted controversy on the 116th birth anniversary celebrations of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose today by changing the traditional venue and proposing to erect a monument to him, which was slammed by the AIFB, the party founded by the great patriot.

"We will erect a monument in Netaji's name on 4-5 kothas of land whatever is available," Banerjee said at the official programme which was shifted to Netaji Bhavan from Netaji's statue on the Maidan.

She said besides the monument at Kodalia in South 24 Parganas, Netaji's house there, which was in bad shape, would be restored and given heritage status with the work expected to be completed by January 22 next year.

All India Forward Bloc state secretary octogenarian Ashok Ghosh strongly condemned the decision to shift the traditional venue and erect a monument to Netaji.

"Former chief minister B C Roy had offered to build a monument in memory of Netaji, but our party leader late Hemanta Basu opposed the idea on the ground that there was no evidence or proof of Netaji's death," Ghosh told reporters.

"Our party's opposition still stands," he said.

Party leader H A Sairani said "the chief minister has announced to build a monument to Netaji, but the onus is on her to prove that he died."

Slamming the state government, Ghosh said "There was no need to change the venue of Netaji's birthday celebrations. Why did they do it? Why did you (chief minister) not attend this programme? Whom did you insult?"

The Forward Bloc leader said that Left Front chairman Biman Bose recently wrote a letter to the chief minister suggesting a joint programme by the government and the Netaji Janmotsav Committee to celebrate Netaji's birthday, but there was no response from her.

"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," Ghosh said.

Sairani alleged that no arrangement was made at the traditional venue and Ghosh had to personally to supervise arrangements at the last moment yesterday.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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