Kolkata, Oct 17: Political parties in West Bengal have said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to declassify Netaji files from January 23, next year is an attempt to hijack the legacy of Bose by cashing in on the emotions revolving around him. Opposition parties, including the Congress and the CPI(M), have also accused the Prime Minister of taking the decision with an eye on the next year’s Assembly poll in the state, a charge denied by the BJP.(Read: Vyapam scam: Mysterious death of retired IFS officer sparks fresh row)

While the ruling Trinamool Congress felt the matter was being “politicised” and “stretched”, CPI(M) politburo member Mohammed Salim said Modi was trying to grab space occupied by Netaji in the hearts of people as the RSS-BJP did not have any contribution to India’s Independence struggle.

“We have been demanding for long that the files be declassified. Why didn’t they declassify them for the last one and a half years? The main agenda behind the decison to declassify files is to cash in on the sentiments and emotions of people surrounding Netaji before the 2016 Assembly polls,” Salim told PTI.

“The RSS-BJP does not have any contribution towards India’s Independence struggle. So they need an icon from the struggle and that is why they are trying to hijcak Netaji’s legacy. But they should know that the ideals of Netaji do not go along with the communal ideology of RSS,” Salim observed.

Bowing to a long-standing demand, the Prime Minister on October 14 announced that the government would start unveiling secret files on Bose from January 23 next year, raising hopes about solving the seven-decade-old mystery about his disappearance. Modi also promised to write and personally take up with foreign governments the issue of declassifying their own files on Bose beginning with Russia in December.

Senior Congress leader Rashid Alvi said if Modi was so serious about declassifying the files, he would have done it as soon as he assumed power. “If they were so serious about declassification of Netaji files, they could have done that after coming to power in 2014,” Alvi said.

Alvi went on, “It was their poll promise. We didn’t stop them from doing that. But now Modiji is declassifying the files from next year, just keeping in mind next year’s Assembly polls. He is doing politics on each and every issue and has not spared the issue of Netaji even.”

Even the Trinamool Congress, which has won hearts of all Netaji followers and lovers by releasing all 64 Netaji files that lay in government archives, felt that there was no need to stretch the matter of declassification till next year. “The state government has already declassified those 64 files. Why is the Centre taking so long to declassify their files They are trying to politicise the matter and that is why they are streching the matter till January,” TMC MP Sultan Ahmed told PTI.

Not otherwise questioning the Prime Minister’s declassification decision, the AIFB, the party formed by Netaji, said there should be a clarity by what time the declassification of the files would be over. “He has said that the declassification of files will start from January, but by when the process will be complete is yet to be answered. And what about accepting the report by the Mukherjee Commission, which was outrightly rejected by the then UPA regime” AIFB General Secretary Debabrata Biswas said.

Netaji had gone missing in 1945 and some of his family members rejected the theory that he had died in a plane crash at Taihoku in Taiwan on August 18 that year. The BJP, however, denied all the allegations, saying Modi had announced the decision keeping in mind the national interest only. “The allegations are baseless. The decision was taken keeping in mind the national interest. Modiji himself has said that there is no need to strangle history. The Congress has been trying to do that only. The Congress had hatched a conspiracy of lies,” BJP National Spokesperson M J AKbar said.