Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, presenting the state Budget on Friday, proposed to allocate Rs 200 crore — Rs 100 crore each to set up an Azad Hind Monument in New Town, and to set up Jai Hind Bhabans in all districts — to honour Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 125th birth anniversary.
The CM also proposed to set aside Rs 5 crore for a Netaji State Planning Commission and Rs 10 crore to raise a Netaji battalion in the Kolkata Armed Police.
The state has been seeing fights between TMC and BJP over the legacy of the patriot, often leading to direct showdowns between the two sides. On January 23, during an official function at Victoria Memorial in honour of Netaji, where both Banerjee and PM Narendra Modi were present, a section of the crowd chanted “Jai Shri Ram” just as Banerjee was about to speak, prompting her to cut short her speech. Even a section of state BJP leaders later condemned the politicisation of the event.
“Netaji was the first to give the idea of a National Planning Commission in India,” Banerjee said during Friday’s Budget speech. “Unfortunately, the present central government abolished the Planning Commission.”
Plan to raise a Netaji battalion
In memory of the contribution of Netaji, the state will form the State Planning Commission and name it the ‘Netaji State Planning Commission’,” the chief minister said. “I propose to allocate Rs 5 crore for the next financial year…. No befitting monument has ever been created in our state by any government in honour of the great leader Netaji. I am proposing to construct a Azad Hind Monument in New Town, on behalf of the people of Bengal as our way of showing respect to Netaji on his 125th birth anniversary. I propose to allocate Rs 100 crore for the next financial year.”
The Jai Hind Bhabans, she said, would motivate the younger generation to take inspiration from Netaji’s life. “These bhabans will also be used for education, sports, culture and various social services,” she said, adding, “I am proposing to raise a ‘Netaji battalion’, a Kolkata police battalion. I propose to allocate Rs 10 crore for the next financial year.”/