Three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to declassify files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Opposition parties dubbed the move as “political” and an attempt to “hijack” the legacy of Netaji Bose by cashing in on the emotions revolving around him. On October 14, PM Modi had announced that the “process of declassification of files relating to Netaji will begin on 23rd January 2016, Subhas Babu’s birth anniversary,” after hosting his family members in New Delhi.
That move is now being questioned by the host of opposition parties, including the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. Congress party and the CPI (M), have even gone on to accuse the Prime Minister of taking the decision with an eye on the next year’s Assembly poll in the state. The BJP has, however, strongly denied the charges.
“We have been demanding for long that the files be declassified. Why didn’t they declassify them for the last one and a half years? The main agenda behind the decision to declassify files is to cash in on the sentiments and emotions of people surrounding Netaji before the 2016 Assembly polls,” senior left front leader and Lok Sabha MP Mohammed Salim told the press.
“The RSS-BJP does not have any contribution towards India’s Independence struggle. So they need an icon from the struggle and that is why they are trying to hijcak Netaji’s legac,” Mr. Salim added.
On the other hand, the ruling Trinamool Congress felt the matter was being “politicised” and “stretched”.
“Why is the Centre taking so long to declassify their files? They are trying to politicise the matter and that is why they are stretching the matter till January,” Trinamool MP Sultan Ahmed said in Kolkata referring to the state government’s move declassifying 64 Netaji files, which were in the possession of West Bengal government authorities.
Earlier this week, while hosting 50 members of Netaji’s family at his 7, Race Course Road resident in the national capital, Prime Minister Modi also assured that he will urge foreign governments to declassify files on Netaji available with them by writing to them and personally taking up with foreign leaders, beginning with Russia in December.
Netaji’s extended family for long has been urging the government to set in motion the release of secret files pertaining to the mysterious disappearance of Netaji Bose. The subject of his mysterious disappearance 70 years ago continues to be a talking point even today.
Questioning the Centre’s decision, the principal opposition party too sought to know why the Modi government took this long to arrive at this decision.
“If they were so serious about declassification of Netaji files, they could have done that after coming to power in 2014,” Congress party leader Rashid Alvi said adding, “now Modiji is declassifying the files from next year, just keeping in mind next year’s Assembly polls. He is doing politics on each and every issue and has not spared the issue of Netaji even.”
On its part, All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), the party formed by Netaji, asked if the government will also accept the Mukherjee Commission report, which probed on the disappearance of Netaji.
The BJP, however, denied all the allegations, saying the Prime Minister had announced the decision keeping in mind the national interest only.
“The allegations are baseless…. Modiji himself has said that there is no need to strangle history. The Congress has been trying to do that only. The Congress had hatched a conspiracy of lies,” BJP National Spokesperson M J AKbar said.
(With inputs from the PTI)