Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he would be receiving family members of Subhash Chandra Bose next month but avoided any reference to declassification of secret files related to him which is being demanded by various sections after West Bengal government did so.
In his 12th edition of monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Modi spoke about a number of issues, including those he had highlighted during the previous episodes like giving up of LPG subsidy, Swacch Bharat campaign, promotion of khadi besides pushing for greater voter participation and paying tributes to soldiers on the 50th anniversary of 1965 India-Pak war.
During the 30-minute programme, he recalled that in May he had met some family members of Subhash Chandra Bose during a visit to Kolkata.
“I got an opportunity to spend some time with them. That day it was decided that the extended family of Subhash babu will visit the Prime Minister’s residence…. Last week, I got confirmation that over 50 members of Subhash babu are coming to visit the Prime Minister’s residence,” Modi said.
“Over 50 members of Subhash babu’s family, from various countries, will be coming…I am happy to welcome them,” he said.
Describing it as a momentous occasion for him, Modi said the family members of Netaji, perhaps for the first time, would be together visiting the Prime Minister’s residence. “But the bigger happiness is for me as nobody in the Prime Minister’s residence would have got such a chance earlier as I will be getting in October.”
While making the reference to Bose, the Prime Minister made no mention of the issue of declassification of secret files related to the freedom fighter.
After West Bengal government declassified 64 such files a few days back, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and some others have demanded that the central government also should declassify the files that are with the PMO and Home Ministry.
In the programme, suggestions and questions from various callers, including that by a child, were also aired.
To a suggestion on greater enrolment of youth as voters, the Prime Minister emphasised that it was essential for everybody to register as voters. He also pitched for raising the voting percentage by exhorting more and more people to exercise their franchise.
He patted the Election Commission for making efforts to create awareness among the voters about their rights.
“Earlier, the Election Commission used to be just a regulator. But over the last few years, the Election Commission has been instrumental in bringing about a change in the mindset of voters. It is now not only a regulator but also a facilitator,” he said.
At the same time, Modi said that the task of creating awareness should not be left to the Election Commission only but others should also contribute. He also mentioned his slogan, “pehle matdaan, phir jalpaan (first vote, then eat).”
He also hailed radio, saying it is a great medium for communication which he had been using over the last one year to reach out to people through ‘Mann Ki Baat’ (straight from the heart), which he said had become ‘Aap Ki Baat (your talk)’.
In this context, he mentioned that the great freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose had set up radio in Germany and he would communicate through it in various languages.
Talking about the upcoming Gandhi Jayanti, Modi again exhorted people to buy at least one Khadi clothing and a handloom product as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and to encourage the industry.
The Prime Minister, who had started the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme on Gandhi Jayanti in 2014,, recalled that he had made the same appeal at that time and it had resulted in doubling of sales of khadi products in one year.
The child, who did not give out his name, told Modi that since he had initiated the ‘Swacch Bharat’ campaign, there should be dustbins in every lane of the country.
Agreeing with this, the Prime Minister said cleanliness should be made a habit and provisions made for cleanliness.
Expressing happiness that cleanliness is being discussed from Parliament to the streets, he said the campaign will have to be carried forward “despite its weaknesses” so that the dream of Mahatma Gandhi to see India a clean country is realised by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation.
“From this boy’s suggestion, I get big satisfaction. I had announced the Swachh Bharat campaign on 2 October (last year) and it must be for the first time since Independence that discussions are held in Parliament for hours on cleanliness. Our government is also criticised. I also have to hear a lot that ‘Modi had talked big on cleanliness, but did anything happen’? I do not mind it. I see it positively that Parliament too is discussing about cleanliness,” he said.
The Prime Minister also referred to the 1965 war in the context of his visit to a defence exhibition on it here few days ago.
Describing it as “educative”, he hailed the armed forces for their valour and sacrifices as he mentioned that during the exhibition he met some of those who had participated in the war.
“If you want to create history, then it is essential to understand the minute aspects of history. History keeps us connected to our roots. If connection with history breaks, then attempts to make history also come to a halt,” he said.