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Poll Campaigns in 5 States Force BJP to Reschedule West Bengal 'Rath Yatra' Again

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state general secretary Sayantan Basu said party chief Amit Shah would now kick off the "yatra" on December 7 from Coochbehar district, instead of Birbhum district, as was planned earlier.

PTI

Updated:November 17, 2018, 9:13 PM IST
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Poll Campaigns in 5 States Force BJP to Reschedule West Bengal 'Rath Yatra' Again
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Kolkata: The BJP has deferred its proposed "rath yatra" in West Bengal next month again owing to poll campaigns in other states, a party official said on Saturday.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state general secretary Sayantan Basu said party chief Amit Shah would now kick off the "yatra" on December 7 from Coochbehar district, instead of Birbhum district, as was planned earlier.

Due to the ongoing poll campaigning in five states, the party decided to reschedule the dates for the "rath yatra" (chariot march) in West Bengal, Basu said.

The fresh dates were — December 7 from Coochbehar district in the north, December 9 from Gangasagar in the south and December 14 from the Tarapith temple in Birbhum district, he added.

Shah is scheduled to attend the programmes on all three dates.

Initially, the "rath yatra" was planned to begin on December 3, 5 and 7 from Birbhum, Coochbehar and Gangasagar respectively. But the dates were rescheduled in the last week of October to December 5, 7 and 9 respectively.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had mocked Shah's proposed "rath yatra" as "Ravan yatra" Friday and asked Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers to carry out "purification and unity marches" at all the places through which the BJP's chariots would pass.

Five states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Telangana and Chhattisgarh — are set to go to the polls between November 12 and December 7. The results will be declared on December 11.

Basu said the "yatra" would be taken to all the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state with each of the three chariots covering 14 seats.

At the conclusion of the "yatra", the party planned to hold a rally in Kolkata, which was likely to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he added.

Sources in the saffron party said the decision to take out the "rath yatra" was taken during Shah's two-day visit to the state in June.

Buoyed by its performance in the last West Bengal panchayat polls, the BJP has prepared its 2019 Lok Sabha election blueprint, targeting at least 22 parliamentary seats in the state.

The saffron party currently has two Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal — Asansol and Darjeeling.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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