Beyond the intrigue, what is also interesting however is the political messaging from TMC’s Mamata Bannerjee.

Declassification of Netaji files is political move by Mamata showing Modi in poor light
Voices Friday, September 18, 2015 - 19:09

India was witness to a historic event today. Thanks to a decisive West Bengal Chief Minister, the WB government has released 64 secret files relating to the snooping and monitoring of Netaji Subas Chandra Bose and his family members. For seven decades now, his sudden disappearance has been a subject of intrigue and political controversy. It is believed that the files could show Jawaharlal Nehru is poor light.

So far, here is what we know about what the declassified files hold.

Beyond the intrigue, what is also interesting however is the political messaging from TMC’s Mamata Bannerjee.

In a statement released today, Mamata said that the centre must now declassify the Netaji files in its jurisdiction. The Union government is known to hold 130 files pertaining to Netaji.

Stating that that she has “fulfilled our responsibility to the people”, she said, “We have made the beginning. People must know about the final days of Netaji. He must get his due recognition.”

“If the Centre has nothing to hide, why is it not declassifying the files? We want to know the truth. We believe in transparency and accountability,” she added.

It is very clear who the political target of her decision to declassify the files are – Narendra Modi.

It particularly makes for bad optics for Narendra Modi because through his 2014 campaign, he had said his government would declassify Netaji files.

Here is the political messaging we get from what’s happened today.

Modi talks, Mamata acts. Modi has still not done something which he promised, and Mamata, without uttering the word, simply announced she would declassify the files within a week. This looks just like another ‘jumla’.

Let’s remember, West Bengal is going to polls next year, and this issue gives her the ability to take on both Modi government and the Congress party. She can now question the credibility of Modi’s promises and question the legacy of the Nehru-Gandhi clan in spying on a national hero’s family and possibly making up his death, and also point out to the Left’s complicity in keeping Netaji out of Indian politics. Further, the issue is still an important one in the minds of Bengalis.

If at all anything betrays the BJP’s embarrassment over the issue, it is the party’s reaction to Mamata’s decision. The party today asked her ‘not to play politics over the issue’, pray tell us then, is making a u-turn the right thing to do?

The BJP now says that the Centre’s files could have ‘international implications’. The question to be asked then is, why make such promises? This is precisely how the Modi government is losing credibility, it is being increasingly seen as a government which makes tall promises and does nothing. And the opposition is having a field day watching the government trip and fall.

This might not be the issue which allows Mamata to retain her throne in West Bengal, but she has no doubt pipped BJP and Modi by not allowing them to appropriate a Bengali legend, and in the meanwhile, sounded the poll-bugle with a definite upper hand.

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