PIB tweet on Netaji puts Bengal BJP in a spot

Subhas Chandra Bose

The Press Information Bureau's (PIB) now-deleted tweet, observing August 18 as the death anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, has put the BJP leadership in West Bengal in a tight spot.

According to BJP sources, the state leadership is apprehensive that the tweet, which drew sharp criticism from Netaji's family, including state BJP vice president Chandra Kumar Bose, may have an adverse impact on the saffron party’s image among Bengalis.

“Sentiments regarding Netaji run high across the country and especially in Bengal. Such a tweet on Netaji may create a negative impression about the party among people. This is likely to put the rising public support for the BJP in the state in jeopardy,” a senior state BJP leader said.

Adding to BJP’s troubles, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a recent tweet made it clear that she does not accept the theory which claims that Netaji died in a plane crash near Taihoku, which is in modern-day Taiwan, on August 18, 1945.

“On this day, in 1945, Netaji went on a flight from Taihoku Airport in Taiwan, only to disappear forever. We still do not know what happened to him. People have a right to know about the great son of the soil,” tweeted Mamata on August 18.

BJP sources further revealed that a section of the state leadership is also miffed with the Gujarat BJP for uploading a similar message on their Twitter handle.

Making his displeasure clear over the issue, state BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu demanded punitive action against the PIB official. However, he was not able to give any explanation as to how the Gujarat BJP made a similar claim regarding Netaji.

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, however, tried to downplay the issue most likely realising that the matter may get out of the hand of the Bengal unit.

Other state BJP leaders such as national secretary Rahul Sinha, MP S S Ahluwalia declined to comment on the matter arguing they are not aware of it.

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