'Second' Bengali Rashtrapati pays homage to the 'first' National/Politics

Last Updated: Sat, Sep 15, 2012 17:20 hrs

Kolkata, Sep 15 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee Saturday described great nationalist leader Subhash Chandra Bose as the "first Bengali Rashtrapati" of India.

"Before Independence, the presidents of Indian National Congress were called Rashtrapati (president). So Netaji was the first Bengali President," Mukherjee said during his visit to Netaji's residence in Kolkata.

Mukherjee's comments came after former MP Krisha Bose, the widow of Netaji's nephew Sisir Bose, said the second Rashtrapati from Bengal has visited the historic house to pay homage to the first Rashtrapati.

Since his elevation to the country's highest constitutional office, West Bengal has been euphoric over having the first president from the state in independent India.

Mukherjee, who is on a four-day visit to his home state, described his trip to "Netaji Bhavan" in South Kolkata as a "pilgrimage".

"It is a pilgrimage for all Indians to visit this place and I have come here to pay my homage to the great soul. His contribution to India's war of liberation is still inspiring us," Mukherjee said.

He said as the president of Indian National Congress, Bose had called for abolition of poverty and the people even now should follow the freedom fighter's view on social economic transformation.

Governor M.K. Narayanan was also present on the occasion.

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