West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday sparked a row after she alleged that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had opposed the Hindu Mahasabha's divisive politics. Addressing a function celebrating the 123rd birth anniversary of Bose, Banerjee recalled his speech at a public meeting on May 12, 1940, where he had strongly criticized the Hindu Mahasabha.
"Netaji had opposed the Hindu Mahasabha's divisive politics. These thoughts are very much relevant today. He had fought for a secular India, a united India, but now efforts are on to oust those who follow secularism," Banerjee said during a program organized at the Darjeeling Mall.
Referring to the mysterious disappearance of Bose since August 18, 1945, Banerjee said the Modi government only declassified a few files, but did not take any measure to find out what actually happened to Bose.
"I find they are not serious in finding out what happened to him. It is a shame that after over 70 years, we still don't know what happened to him," she said.
Banerjee said since coming to power in 2011, she has been demanding that January 23 be declared a national holiday. "But this has not happened yet."."We will continue to follow the path shown by him. None can snatch his place from our heart."
After Mamata's allegations, Mahasabha hits back
Meanwhile, Hindu Mahasabha hits back at the West Bengal Chief Minister over her allegation and called her "intellectually bankrupt" and "stooping to this level to fight Modi government".
"The reality is Hindu Mahasabha and Veer Savarkar were instrumental in urging Netaji to establish the Azad Hind Fauj. We both shared a love for this nation. Today, Mamata Banerjee is stopping so low because she has exhausted all options to fight the current dispensation (sic.).
"How dare she malign the Hindu Mahasabha of Lala Lajpat Rai?" asked Swami Chakrapani while speaking to IANS.
Using the occasion of Netaji's birth anniversary, Banerjee hit out at the "Hindu Mahasabha's divisive politics".
"Netaji had opposed the Hindu Mahasabha's divisive politics. He had fought for a secular India. Now efforts are on to oust those who follow secularism," she claimed.
Netaji has always been the sought-after historical figure of political appropriation.
After decades of neglect by the Congress, the BJP has usurped his legacy by inaugurating Museum after him in Red Fort, declassifying Netaji files and renaming Andaman island after him.
Now, with West Bengal Assembly elections next year, Mamata Banerjee seems eager to wrest back that legacy. But her bringing in Hindu Mahasabha in all this, which appears to be a careful decision, has the saffron outfit enraged.
(With inputs from IANS)