New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join freedom fighters and veterans to unfurl the tricolour from the Red Fort on October 21 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Subhas Chandra Bose’s Azad Hind (independent India) declaration in what analysts describe as a smart political move to appropriate the legacy of one of the leading lights of India’s freedom movement, and of another Congressman.
On October 21, 1943, Netaji, as Bose is popularly known, announced the formation of the country’s first independent government . Although it was short-lived, some historians consider it an important milestone in India’s journeys to independence.
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party has already staked claim to the legacy of Sardar Patel, a lifelong Congressman and independent India’s first home minister.
A 182-metre-high statue of Patel, the Statue of Unity, is to be unveiled by the Prime Minister downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat on October 31.
The BJP has also sought to align itself with Dalit icon BR Ambedkar’s ideology. In April, Modi inaugurated the Ambedkar National Memorial in Delhi; last month, he invoked Ambedkar at the launch of his government’s flagship Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme. The BJP has also consistently targeted the Congress for belittling the legacy of both leaders.
Bose, whose career in the Congress ended bitterly (he was ousted from the party’s leadership in 1939), went on to form his Azad Hind military force. He is coming in for some special attention from the BJP. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government unveiled some of the classified files dealing with Bose after coming to power in 2014.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister will also unveil a plaque and launch work on a museum in a special barrack of the Red Fort where Indian National Army soldiers faced trials by British authorities. Netaji’s great grand nephew Chandra Bose, who fought as a BJP candidate against Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee in the last assembly elections, will also be present.
The celebrations around Bose are certain to involve some Congress-bashing, say analysts; earlier this week, while interacting with party workers, Prime Minister Modi took potshots at the Congress for its treatment of national stalwarts.
“History is witness to the fact that they (Congress) had only disrespect for Sardar Patel in their minds. The same happened with Netaji, Acharya (JB) Kripalani and BR Ambedkar. This list is so long, that I will need the entire night to complete,” Modi said during his interaction with party workers via video-conferencing earlier this week.
“I am honoured to participate in the programme. I know some people will criticize it. Let them do it. Everyone is aware how Netaji gave a challenge to British rulers when he formed his Azad Hind force. One party had ruled Indian for more than 70 years, but it didn’t bother to make the files public,” the PM added.
‘Mahagathbandhan’ club of ‘nawabs of negativity’: Jaitley
Mumbai: The opposition “mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) is a club of “nawabs of negativity” and the only glue of this diverse grouping is its opposition to one man (Narendra Modi), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
People of an aspirational society which is politically conscious will not buy into this “suicidal” alternative, the senior BJP leader said.
“The nawabs of negativity may come together but that is not something that will carry credibility as far as people are concerned,” Jaitley said, speaking via video link at the CNBC-TV18 India Business Leadership Awards event. During the video call, Jaitley also spoke about the Union Budget.
This was the first time Jaitley, now in the US for medical treatment, addressed a gathering since leaving the country on Tuesday.
The setback the ruling BJP suffered in Assembly elections in three heartland states recently (Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan) has enthused some opposition leaders about the likely electoral success of such an alternative.
The “mahagathbandhan” has neither the ideological cohesiveness nor a common programme aimed at building the country or an individual leader, Jaitley said.
As against the BJP’s strengths of leadership, decisiveness, performance and potential, the point being put forward by the opposition is of arithmetic, Jaitley highlighted.
In politics, it is not the arithmetic but chemistry which succeeds, he added.
“The premise is that we have politics which is negative in character and the negative politics is we want one man (Narendra Modi) out. On that negativity of wanting one man out, they (Opposition) have come together,” Jaitley said.
Arun Jaitley also said there is a need to elevate the political debate in the run up to the elections and stressed that we cannot afford a “sloganised political debate” where emotional cries take over sound policy.
Without mentioning the promise of farm loan waivers, which the opposition Congress is pitching for, the minister said “sloganised policies” never help the larger interest of the economy and it is the country’s aspirations which will receive a setback in the process.
Govt compromising national security, why 36 Rafale jets instead of 126: Chidambaram
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday accused the government of compromising national security and asked why it bought only 36 Rafale fighter jets instead of 126 required by the Air Force.
His comments come in the wake of fresh revelations on the Rafale deal in a media report which claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to but 36 aircraft instead of the 126 asked for by the Air Force pushed the price of each jet up by 41.42 per cent.
“In the light of new facts and revelations in THE HINDU, the question gains greater urgency: why did the government buy only 36 Rafale aircraft instead of 126 aircraft required by the Air Force?,” Chidambaram asked in a tweet.
“The Government has compromised national security by denying to the Air Force the 7 squadrons (126 aircraft) that it desperately needs,” he said.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also took to Twitter to demand answers from Modi on the increased cost of aircraft. “The PM’s unilateral decision to buy 36 Rafales resulted in a price escalation of 41.42 per cent per jet. When will the prime minister answer? he asked.
No war, but soldiers are dying on borders: Bhagwat
Nagpur: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said requisite steps need to combat killings on the border, as soldiers are being martyred sans a war-like situation in the country.
“In our country, there is no war at the moment, still people (soldiers) are getting martyred…Because we are not doing our jobs properly. We need to make efforts in this regard. If we want our country to reach the top, then we all should learn to sacrifice,” he said at a gathering here on Thursday.
Furthermore, Bhagwat said the responsibility of safeguarding the country should not be solely shouldered by the Forces.
“Everybody has to make efforts in this regard. This is not something for which we can give a contract to somebody. We keep thinking that the government will do it or the army will do it, the police will do it, but it’s not like that, the entire society has to make efforts,” he opined.
Citing the example of Israel, Bhagwat noted: “If one looks closely, after 70 long years, those countries in comparison with India have done better in terms of growth and development. Israel is a classic example. The natives were weed out before the 19 c. But citizens there gradually came back to their country and started their businesses, trade etc. Finally, in 1948 they got independence.”