New Delhi: Government should declassify the secret files relating to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose today and not wait till January 23 next year, ahead of Assemly elections in West Bengal, to start the process, an unfazed Congress said on Thursday.
The party said that Modi government was also raising an accusing finger against Atal Bihari Vajpayee if it is questioning the decision of previous governments not to declassify the files and alleged that the BJP was trying to appropriate the legacy of Congress leaders.
"Why is the government waiting till January 23, 2016 to make the documents public? Is it because of Bengal polls? They should do it today or tomorrow. Why to keep up the suspense?", party's senior spokesman Anand Sharma told reporters.
Throwing more than adequate hints that the exercise was being undertaken with an eye on Assembly polls, Sharma claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi "had cried" during the recent visit to the US "targeting voters in Bihar".
"It is sad and unfortunate...But this is how his mind functions.The Prime Minister is a good event manager," remarked Sharma when asked about the Prime Minister's announcement that government will start unveiling the secret files related to Netaji from January 23 next year, raising hopes about solving the seven-decade-old mystery about his disappearance.
Declaring that "there is no need to strangle history", Modi told Netaji's family members during a meeting here yesterday that he would also urge foreign governments to declassify files on Bose available with them by writing to them and personally taking up with their leaders, beginning with Russia in December.
Sharma noted that there were years when Congress was not in power but still non-Congress governments including the one led by BJP patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee decided not to make the documents public.
He said any insinuation against previous governments on the issue also meant an attack on Vajpayee.
"If an accusing finger is raised against the Indian National Congress, then it is also pointed towards Vajpayee who has been one of the most respectable leaders of the BJP".
Besides, he insisted, that the move is part of appropriating the legacy of the Congress stalwarts in the freedom struggle.
"The Prime Minister is trying to appropriate the legacy of our leaders. They have tried it with Sardar Patel...They had nothing to do with the freedom struggle"
Successive governments have refused to make public these documents, arguing that India's relations with foreign countries would be jeopardised. Modi's office too had stated till August this year that the files cannot be declassified as it will adversely affect relations with foreign countries.
The demands for declassification of secret files have been growing lately, especially after the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal recently declassified 64 files which were in its possession.