He may be a political greenhorn pitted against battle-hardened adversaries, but Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grand nephew Chandra Kumar Bose is hopeful of emerging as the David slaying the political Goliath as he aspires to uphold the revolutionary leader’s ideals of nationalism in mainstream politics.
Taking on the might of Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from her stronghold South Kolkata’s Bhowanipore in the West Bengal assembly election polls, the Netaji scion and BJP candidate asserts it is not a clash of personalities – rather a fight for development against neglect.
While the electoral arrangement between the Congress and the CPI (M) led Left Front may have created a buzz in the political circles, Bose counts out the LF-backed Congress nominee and former union minister Deepa Dasmunsi from the race.
“The unholy tie-up will prove futile. It’s a two-way fight,” Bose told IANS in an interview, dismissing the Congress-Left adjustment.
Bose, who joined the saffron party earlier this year, says the electoral contest has given him a great opportunity to be a worthy soldier of the BJP.
“It is always better to fight against someone who has established herself rather than fighting a non-entity. It’s not a clash of personalities, rather a fight between the BJP’s agenda of development and the Trinamool’s misgovernance and neglect,” the 55-year-old Bose said when asked about being up against the formidable Mamata Banerjee.
“From industry to law and order, from health to education, there is complete anarchy and the state is steadily heading towards destruction,” he said, while going door-to-door and interacting with the voters.
One of the state’s most cosmopolitan constituencies – home to sizeable number of Gujaratis, Sikhs, Biharis, Marwaris and various other communities living alongside Bengalis – Bhowanipore has over 200,000 voters.
But Bose said even Bhowanipore, despite being the chief minister’s constituency and housing her residence, lacked many basic amenities.
“It is one of the first places in the city to get submerged during the monsoon. Only cosmetic changes have been made, but nothing has been done to improve the drainage system.”
Drawn to the BJP by “country’s foremost nationalist leader” Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bose’s aspiration behind taking the political plunge is to “establish Netaji’s ideal of nationalism in mainstream politics”.
Defending his decision to join the BJP instead of the All India Forward Bloc founded by Netaji, Bose said: “The irony is the Congress and the Left parties, who have successfully obliterated Netaji’s ideals and beliefs, are now pointing figures at the BJP. The most communal party in the country is the Congress which has been instrumental in numerous communal riots since independence.
“And the most unfortunate thing is the All India Forward Bloc preferred to join hands with the Left, forgoing Netaji’s principles,” says the grandson of Netaji’s elder brother, Sarat Chandra Bose.
Having actively campaigned for the de-classification of secret government files on Netaji, Bose refuses to give any credit to Banerjee for making public 64 classified files last September, nearly four months ahead of the centre coming out with 100 such secret files on January 23.
“She chose to make them public only when the assembly polls were not far away. This is nothing but an attempt to derive political mileage.”
“On the other hand, it took Modi just over a year to declassify the secret files which contain far more critical information. Not only that, his government has been constantly endeavouring to get foreign governments, including Russia and Britain, to declassify files in their possession,” said Bose, claiming the centre has already handed over at least 700 more classified documents to the National Archives of India which will come in the public domain shortly.
Having worked nearly two decades as a management consultant with a global enterprise and a voluntary human rights activist, the London-educated Bose affirmed his experience of dealing with the masses would help him at the hustings.
“Our ancestral house has been in Bhowanipore, so I know the people, realise their problems and their aspirations,” he said refering to Netaji Bhavan located in the area.
Bose claimed his newcomer tag would also work to his advantage.
“Often politicians make tall promises and then forget. And I, being a non-political persona, people will give me their support,” added Bose who has been holding marches, and urging the people “to hand over the state’s baton to the BJP”.