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Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee suggests four capitals for better representation

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on January 23, 2021

Questions centralisation of power in Delhi

West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, on Saturday pitched for four capitals in the country – one each in the east, north, south and north”-east. The move, she said, will help gain each region more prominence.

Speaking at the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, the Chief Minsiter said, Kolkata used to be the capital of British India and mooted the possibility of having multiple capitals in the country.

“I am not being parochial or regional. But, why can there not be more than one capital. Why should all power be centralised in Delhi? There can be a capital in the Northern region, it could be in Uttar Pradesh or Punjab. There could be another in the South, which can be in Kerala, Tamil Nadu or Andhra. A third can be explored in the east, preferably Kolkata or even in Bihar. The fourth will be in the North-Eastern region,” the Chief Minister said adding that “Delhi has only outsiders (people not originally from the city).”

“Why should powers be centralised in Delhi? It has outsiders only. I urge my MPs to raise the issue in the upcoming session of the Parliament,” Banerjee added.

The BJP reacted strongly and dismissed it as a “wild idea”.

The party’s National General Secretary, Kailash Vijayvargiya, said: “She can moot 40 capitals in the country. Her ideas will not matter as she won’t be in power here in Bengal soon.”

`Declare holiday on Netaji's birth anniversary'

The West Bengal Chief Minister also leveraged a state government programme – organised on the occasion of Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary – to drive home a political point and attack the Centre and ruling BJP.

She raised objections to the day being called “Parakram Diwas” – the name with which January 23 is being celebrated by the Centre - as a predominantly Hindi name for an occasion associated with a “national hero and an icon from Bengal”.

“Netaji is a national hero whose love for India is unquesitonanble. Why not call the day as Deshnayak Day or Deshprem Diwas. Why a name like Parakram Diwas,” Banerjee questioned, while reiterating her previous demands that January 23 be declared a national holiday and “all files” relating to Netaji and his disappearance by “de-classified’.

The Chief Minister also attacked the Centre for “destroying the country’s federal structure” and doing away with organisations like the Planning Commission. State governments were being overlooked with the Centre taking unilateral decisions.

“I am not saying that the Niti Aayog was not required. But, why do away with the Planning Commission. State governments are not being given a proper hearing and issues raised by us are overlooked. This is wrong. The Planning Commission gave us a chance to have a say, “ she added.

 

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Published on January 23, 2021
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