Desperate to gain ground in West Bengal, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will carpet bomb the poll-bound state with four rallies of its top leaders this month.
Bengal goes to poll in April-May this year and the January rallies are seen as the launch of campaign for the election that largely appears to be a direct contest between the Trinamool Congress and the Left parties.
Transport minister Nitin Gadkari will address a rally at Dakshin Dinajpur on January 18, followed by home minister Rajnath Singh’s speech at Barasat on January 21, HRD minister Smriti Irani at Bardhaman and BJP chief Amit Shah at Howrah on January 25. Gadkari was earlier scheduled to hold a rally at Malda but the venue was changed at the last minute after the district administration refused to grant permission for the event.
Malda is on the boil following the January 3 incident wherein a protest march by Muslims – against the leader of a Hindu outfit for making scandalous remarks about Prophet Muhammad – turned violent and public properties were set on fire. Two days ago, a fact-finding delegation of BJP MPs was also stopped from entering Malda.
“The law and order situation in the state has deteriorated. The Mamata Banerjee government is resorting to vote bank politics to cover up its failure. The Malda incident is a classic example,” BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said.
Law and order, illegal immigration from Bangladesh, lack of development and under employment will be the BJP’s main poll plank and its top leaders will target CM Mamata Banerjee for her “failure” on all these counts.
The Centre, as of now, has no plan to send any official team to Malda, home ministry officials said. The officials had earlier said home minister Rajnath Singh may also visit Malda but it was later clarified that Singh too had no plans to visit the town. A three-member BJP delegation had met Singh on Tuesday and demanded a high-level probe into the violence.