West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday alleged that the renaming of islands in Andaman and Nicobar was done to merely “gain popularity” since Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had himself named the islands as ‘Shahid’ and ‘Swaraj’ Dweep when he had visited the archipelago in 1943.
She also accused the Centre of scrapping the Planning Commission envisaged by the legendary freedom fighter. Notably, Neil and Havelock islands in Andamans were, in 2018, renamed as ‘Shahid' Dweep and 'Swaraj’ Dweep by the Centre. Ross Island was also rechristened as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Dweep to honour the freedom fighter.
Banerjee's reaction came hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi named 21 islands of the Union Territory after Param Vir Chakra awardees on the occasion of Bose's 126th birth anniversary. "Today only to gain popularity, some are claiming to have given names of Andaman islands Shahid and Swaraj Dweep, but these islands were given such names by Bose when he had gone there to inspect Cellular Jail," Banerjee said.
The Bengal CM was addressing a programme held on the occasion of the freedom fighter’s birth anniversary. Banerjee along with several dignitaries and family members of Bose paid tributes to the freedom fighter at the Red Road event.