Indian Congress plans year-long celebrations of Bangladesh’s independence

Gautam Lahiri

23 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

New Delhi: With public projection of archival film material of the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war, Indian National Congress is set to take the memory of creation of Bangladesh to the whole country.

In a bid to use the golden jubilee of the iconic war identified with Indira Gandhi for reviving its stock among the people, the main opposition party of India will also hold seminars at the district level.

Party President Sonia Gandhi, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi will take part in many programmes, sources confirmed.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already invited Gandhi family to participate in the celebration scheduled to be held in Dhaka. But their travel plan has not been finalised so far.

Sources said the party has readied the blueprint of the yearlong celebration programmes to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1971 war, overseen by an AICC committee headed by former defence minister AK Antony and comprising veterans like Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh, former speaker Meira Kumar and convenor Pravin Davar and former President Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee.

With the idea of ensuring a mass connect over the 1971 war, Congress will hold conventions in every district of the country.

The programmes would include seminars, lectures on the creation of Bangladesh and its importance in national security. At the same time, the party will hold essay and quiz competitions to familiarise the younger generation with the seminal event. A social media blitzkrieg on the subject would form a major part of the exercise. Interestingly, Congress has decided that in states with higher concentration of ex-servicemen, it will hold conventions even at the block level -- Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

For the party struggling to capture the national ambition after its eviction from power in 2014 and facing political adversities, insiders thought of celebrating the 1971 war as a way of reviving its grassroots leaders and activists.

Party admits that the pitchforking of 1971 and mascot Indira Gandhi in the grassroots campaign is an attempt to retrieve the nationalism plank. The celebrations, to kickstart after the coming assembly elections, would wind up by September at the district and block level. It is in October that high-profile events in the form of state-level conventions would take place, and will culminate in a national meet in the capital on the Golden jubilee of the victory Day — December 16, 2021.

Sources said former defence minister Antony has directed that ex-servicemen should be involved in the programmes in a big way.

 


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