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With Amit Shah's Carefully Planned Bengal Trip, BJP is Trying Hard to Bury its 'Outsider' Tag

Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah in Kolkata on Saturday.

Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah in Kolkata on Saturday.

The BJP leader said that those indulging in politics of regionalism should overcome it.

Like his earlier visit on November 6, Home Minister Amit Shah, has carefully crafted this Bengal trip against the backdrop of the ruling Trinamool Congress' attempts to pin the ‘outsider’ tag on BJP.

After garlanding the statue of freedom fighter Khudiram Bose at his ancestral house in Midnapore, Shah in a veiled attack at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said - “Those who are involved in the low politics, they should not know that Khudiram Bose was from Bengal but he was equally belongs to India ."

“On this day, December 19, 1927, freedom fighters Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan and Thakur Roshan Singh were hanged by the British empire. Like Khudiram Bose, Ram Prasad Bismil was from Uttar Pradesh but he was equally related to Bengal. Therefore, those who are doing such low politics (over outsider’s issue) should refrain from doing so.”

“We didn’t get an opportunity to die for our country like these freedom fighters but they gave us an opportunity to strengthen India under the leadership of Narendra Modi,” he added.

Shah arrived in Kolkata on Saturday early morning on a two-day visit to take stock of BJP’s poll preparedness in the state ahead of the crucial 2021 assembly elections.

“I bow to this revered land of greats like Gurudev Tagore, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Syama Prasad Mookerjee," Shah said in a tweet upon his arrival. At around 10.30 am, he visited the ancestral house of Swami Vivekananda in Kolkata, and offered his prayers.

This is Shah's second visit to Swami Vivekananda's ancestral house at Simla street after 2019 before the Lok Sabha polls. This is also the BJP leader's second visit to Bengal in less than two weeks, signalling the weight the saffron party is putting on forming a government in the state.

“It’s a matter of privilege for me to offer my prayers to Swami Vivekananda at his ancestral house in Kolkata. This is the place which awakes one's consciousness. We all know how he explained the importance of Sanatan Dharma during a religious conference in America. Swami ji is our pride who worked to interlink spirituality with modernisation. He told us about 'Bharat Mata'. We all need to follow his footsteps for a better world,” he said, addressing the media.

Many felt that Shah’s visit to Vivekananda’s ancestral house and then his scheduled visit to Bolpur to connect with the land of Tagore is nothing but BJP’s well-crafted strategy to counter Mamata Banerjee’s ‘outsider’ accusation.

The consistent effort of Mamata Banerjee to keep her party’s ‘Bangaliana’ strategy against ‘outsider BJP’ didn’t go unnoticed among the central BJP leadership. They felt that in recent years she is trying to open a new front apart from non Bengali Hindu and Muslim vote share to polarize the Bengali vote and derail BJP’s game plan ahead of the upcoming elections.

Struggling with the ‘outsiders’ tag and faced with the task of polarising Hindu votes, Amit Shah in his previous visit on November 6 has left no stone unturned to project BJP as a better ‘Bangaliana’ face of Bengal.

From meeting people of various communities, visiting temples, having lunch with commoners to meeting Indian classical vocalist Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty, Shah’s carefully crafted previous trips to Bengal seem like nothing but a desperate attempt to rid the saffron camp off the ‘outsider’ tag.

On November 6, Shah visited Dakshineswar Kali Temple and after offering prayers, he briefly interacted with the media and said, “I came here many times before also and sought blessings of Ma Kali for Bengal and the entire country. West Bengal is the land of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Thakur Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo. Bengal was the centre of spiritual and religious awakening in India but the tradition of West Bengal was hurt with the appeasement politics. I would like to request the great people of Bengal to fulfil their responsibilities in restoring the pride of the state which was the centre of spiritual and religious awakening in India.”

first published:December 19, 2020, 14:16 IST