PM In Assam, Bengal Today; Mamata Banerjee Preps Kolkata Event: 10 Points

Mamata Banerjee and PM Narendra Modi are scheduled to hold events in Kolkata today (File)

Kolkata:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will land in Assam today to distribute land allotment certificates under a state government programme to 1 lakh beneficiaries. He will then fly to Kolkata to inaugurate a permanent museum dedicated to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on the freedom fighter’s 125th birth anniversary. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will also address an event in Kolkata on the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji. The elections to the legislative assembly in Assam and West Bengal are just months away. While the BJP is hoping to remain in Assam on the back of initiatives it has taken to develop the state, the party is looking to unseat the Trinamool Congress and is banking on PM Modi’s campaign to swing votes in West Bengal. Home Minister Amit Shah landed in Assam ahead of PM’s arrival.

Here’s your 10-point cheat sheet to this big story:

  1. The All Assam Students Union (AASU) on Friday took out a march over their demands, including scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The AASU is in favour of repealing the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, and implementation of a report by a committee on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, which safeguards constitutional rights of indigenous people.

  2. The police have detained several AASU activists from torchlight rallies across the state. The crackdown turned violent in Tezpur when thousands of AASU activists took out a rally in the city against the law that promises citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from three neighbouring countries if they came in before 2015.

  3. In West Bengal, the BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress are engaged in a tussle over the celebrations of Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary. While Ms Banerjee will lead a 6-km march in Kolkata, from Shyambazar in the north to Red Road in the heart of the city, PM Modi will preside over the inauguration of a permanent exhibition on Subhas Chandra Bose at the Victoria Memorial.

  4. While the BJP has put in place its strong event management skills, Ms Banerjee seems to have also made her plans. “I request people from all sections of society and Indians who live abroad to blow a conch shell or do something similar at 12.15 pm, the time of Netaji’s birth, on January 23. I request Indian missions across the globe to do it as well,” Ms Banerjee appealed earlier this month.

  5. PM Modi’s event in the evening at Victoria Memorial will see Usha Uthup perform Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Ekla Cholo Re’ along with a choir. A group of schoolchildren will perform ‘Kadam Kadam Barhaye Ja’, a song which was composed as a marching tune for Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army in 1942. Singer Papon will present a song titled ‘Subhashji Subhashji’. The fourth song at the event is another patriotic song, ‘Dhono Dhane Pushpe Bhora’.

  6. PM Modi will release a book ‘Letters of Netaji’. The final song followed at the event will be ‘Subh Sukh Chain’, the  anthem of the INA, which will be presented by Usha Uthup, Papon and Soumyojit, joined by singers like  Annwesha, Somlata and others.

  7. The state and the centre have already clashed over the declaration of ‘Parakram Diwas’. Netaji’s birth anniversary will be known as Parakram Diwas, according to the centre. The state government had requested the centre to declare it as ‘Desh Nayak Diwas’ as Rabindranath Tagore had bestowed the title of Desh Nayak on Netaji.

  8. Ms Banerjee’s march in north Kolkata will be a show of strength and an effort to showcase the Trinamool Congress’s efforts to portray itself as a party of Bengal, while it terms the BJP leaders who fly in as “outsiders”.

  9. “In respect of Netaji, the BJP does not want any roadblocks. This will be a disrespect to Netaji. The state government is organising its own function. We don’t want to debate this. In every home people blow conches on this day, this is not a political agenda,” BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said.

  10. Bengal Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee resigned from his post on Friday. He is the third minister to resign in the last six weeks. The first to go was Suvendu Adhikari and he has joined BJP. The second was Laxmi Ratan Shukla, cricketer turned minister of state for sports. He has not gone anywhere yet, nor has he resigned as MLA or from the party.

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