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India should have four capitals on rotational basis: Mamata

·4-min read

(Eds: Adding more inputs) Kolkata, Jan 23 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said India should have four capitals on a rotational basis and sessions of the Parliament should be held in different locations in the country.

She also slammed the Centre for its decision to observe January 23 as 'Parakram Diwas' to commemorate the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and said the Narendra Modi government did not consult with her before announcing it.

'During the British-era, Kolkata was the capital of the country. I think we must have four capitals on a rotational basis. Why does the country have only one capital? 'And the sessions of Parliament should be held in different places in the country,' she said, while addressing a gathering here after leading a grand procession to pay tribute to Netaji on his 125th birth anniversary.

She led the over seven-km procession from Shyambazar in north Kolkata to Mayo Road in the heart of the city after paying tribute to a statue of the freedom fighter and blowing a conch shell when a siren was sounded at 12.15 pm, the time when Bose was born on this day in 1897.

'We are not parochial. We are speaking for everyone.

In south India, one (capital) can either be in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka or Kerala. In north India, one can be in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh.

'Why cannot there be one in Bihar, Odisha or West Bengal? There can be one in the Northeast. We have to change our outlook. One leader, one ration card, one political party for one nation...What is the valuation! We want united India,' Banerjee said.

Banerjee questioned why Bose's birth anniversary will not be celebrated as 'Deshnayak Diwas'.

'They may dislike me politically but could have consulted with me. They could have consulted with Netaji's great-grandsons Sugata Bose or Sumantra Bose on choosing a name.

'Who has given the name 'Parakram'? We in West Bengal are celebrating the day as 'Deshnayak Diwas' because it has a history. Rabindranath Tagore had described Netaji as 'Deshnayak'. That is why we have used the name to link the two legends of Bengal,' she said.

Banerjee said that her government does not celebrate Netaji's birthday only in the years when elections are scheduled.

Elections to the 294-member assembly are due in April-May this year.

'We do not celebrate Netaji's birthday only in the years when elections are scheduled. We celebrate his birthday every year. And because this is his 125th birth anniversary we are celebrating it in a grand fashion. This will always remain a very sad thing for us that though we know Netaji's birthday, we still have no idea about his date of death,' she said.

'He (Netaji) had also framed the Jai Hind slogan. He was not only a freedom fighter but also a philosopher and a thinker,' she added.

Banerjee alleged that a 'game' is going on to change the country's national anthem 'Jana Gana Mana'.

'There is a game going on to change our national anthem. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had endorsed 'Jana Gana Mana' as the national anthem. We will not allow to change it,' she said.

Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore wrote 'Jana Gana Mana' in 1911 in Bengali and it was adopted as the national anthem in 1950. However, the national anthem is only a part of the poem penned and composed by Tagore.

Criticising the Centre for abolishing the Planning Commission, she said that the Niti Aayog and the panel can co-exist.

'He (Netaji) had also spoken about the Planning Commission and several other things. I do not have any idea why the Planning Commission was abolished. Niti Aayog and the panel can co-exist.

'You will have to bring back the Planning Commission.

It cannot be that we will love Netaji and simultaneously abolish the Planning Commission,' she said.

The TMC supremo said that Netaji did not get what he actually deserved and that he is an 'our emotion, conscience, patriotism'.

'We still believe that Netaji was one of the greatest freedom fighters of the country. He was not only a freedom fighter but a great philosopher,' she said.

The grand procession passed through Bhupendra Bose Avenue, Chittaranjan Avenue, Esplanade and Rani Rashmoni Avenue and culminated near Netaji's statue on Red Road where Banerjee addressed the gathering.

Lakhs of people from different walks of the society, including TMC MPs, MLAs and ministers besides Chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay along with other senior bureaucrats participated in the rally.

The entire route was decorated with huge cut-outs of the freedom fighter and the COVID-19 safety protocol was maintained.

Netaji's birth anniversary was celebrated in schools and colleges across the state. PTI SCH ACD ACD