Amit Shah, Nadda to Visit Kolkata Ahead of Durga Puja; Inaugurating Pandals on Party Chief's To-do List
BJP's working president JP Nadda is likely to visit Bengal on September 27 and address an event on abrogation of Article 370. On Mahalaya, he will offer prayers for party workers killed in the state's political violence.
File photo of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Kolkata: Union Home Minister and BJP national president Amit Shah and party’s working president JP Nadda will visit Bengal ahead of Durga Puja to look into the organisational aspects and propagate about abolition of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, party sources said on Wednesday. Also, on Shah's to-do list is inaugurating puja pandals in the city.
Nadda is likely to visit Bengal on September 27, address a programme on abrogation of Article 370 that gave Jammu and Kashmir its special status. On September 28, the day of Mahalaya, that marks the beginning of the Durga puja festival, he will offer ‘tarpan’ (offering water to god) in the name of BJP workers killed in political violence in Bengal in the last few years, a senior state BJP leader said.
Shah’s two-day visit is scheduled to begin on October 1. “After inaugurating puja pandals, he will address a party organisational meeting in the city," the BJP leader said. The state party leadership has applied for a no-objection certificate from the government to hold the meeting at Netaji Indoor Stadium. If permission for the venue is not granted, the meeting is likely to be held at the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre in Salt Lake.
A number of puja organisers have reportedly expressed their desire to have Shah inaugurate the festivities. "We have informed Shahji about it and he has promised to look into the requests. Nothing has been finalised," said BJP state president Dilip Ghosh.
The announcement of Shah and Nadda’s visit came at a time when West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has gone to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national capital.
This will be Shah’s first visit to Kolkata after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and after becoming the Union Home Minister. Sources said, the BJP leadership has decided to go all out to capitalise on the state’s festivities and has accordingly planned the upcoming events. Shah has reportedly told the state leadership to intensify its ‘jan sampark’ efforts during the festive season to highlight the Centre’s achievements.
According to the BJP sources, during his visit, Nadda will also take stock of the organisational matter of the state unit and also ground-level political situation in Bengal. "We have been organising programmes and seminars across the country to sensitise people about our decision to abolish Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. As part of it, we have been holding programmes in Bengal too. On September 27, there will be a programme on abolition of Article 370. Naddaji will address it", Ghosh said.
“Our party leadership has big plans for Bengal. After our stupendous success in the last Lok Sabha polls and in our recent membership drive when we clocked nearly 80 lakh members in the state, Bengal is one of the focus states of the party," a source said.
With an eye on the upcoming Assembly elections, political camps especially the saffron brigade and the ruling TMC, are leaving no stone unturned to reach out to people during the festive season.
Bengal has more than 25,000 Durga pujas of which about 2,000 are held in Kolkata. In most of the puja committees, organisers are divided politically, something that was not seen before Mamata Banerje came to power in 2011. The concept gained further prominence after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister in 2014 and decided to reorganise the party with specific attention to some states, including Bengal.
Over the last few years, the BJP has made deep inroads in Bengal and has come up as the main challenger of TMC, by pushing the traditional Congress and Left Front to distant third and fourth position, respectively.
The BJP in 2019 parliamentary elections bagged 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, just four less than the ruling TMC. The TMC’s tally has come down from 34 in 2014 to 22 seats in this election.
(With inputs from PTI)
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