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Amit Shah likely to visit Purulia by month-end, say Bengal BJP leaders

Two BJP workers were found dead in the troubled region soon after the panchayat polls. The ruling Trinamool has denied the involvement of its activists.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2018 16:19 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Amit Shah,Purulia,Panchayat polls
BJP president Amit Shah has his sights set on West Bengal, where he wants his party to win at least 22 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. (PTI photo)

BJP president Amit Shah is expected to visit Bengal’s Purulia district, where two BJP workers were allegedly killed in a period of three days, at the end of this month.

The alleged political murders had created a huge controversy in the aftermath of the violence-ridden panchayat elections in the state.

“Central leaders have told the state leadership that Amit Shah is likely to arrive in Kolkata on June 27 and proceed to Purulia the next day,” said Sayantan Basu, general secretary of the BJP Bengal unit.

However, it was not sure if he would visit the houses of the slain BJP activists. “We are trying to make sure that he drops by the houses of Trilochan Mahato and Dyulal Kumar,” said another leader on the condition of anonymity.

While Mahato was found hanging from a tree at Supurdi village on May 31, Dulal Kumar was found on a high tension electric pole at Dabha village on June 2. Both the villages are located in Balarampur block.

Also read: Amit Shah likely to visit Purulia by month-end, say Bengal BJP leaders

Shah’s visit would be crucial at a number of levels. State leaders believe that the morale of party workers in Bengal would receive a boost if a central BJP delegation were to drop by. Purulia has emerged as a veritable theatre of confrontation between the two parties, with the BJP winning 645 gram panchayat seats in the district against the ruling party’s 839.

The focus is also on improving the BJP’s performance in West Bengal in the Lok Sabha elections, with Shah wanting to win at least 22 of its 44 parliamentary constituencies in 2019.

State BJP leaders have been on an indefinite protest in Purulia since Tuesday, a day after party national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya announced his decision to move the Calcutta high court against the Bengal Police’s “improper” investigation into the death of the two party workers. “The Bengal police’s investigation into the murders of Trilochon Mahato and Dulal Kumar is nothing but a farce. Not a single person has been arrested yet. The police are also trying to pass off Dyulal Kumar’s murder as suicide,” the BJP leader had said at an event in West Midnapore.

The Trinamool Congress, however, shrugged off the allegations. “The BJP is merely trying to create a disturbance by passing off suicide as murder. The Trinamool Congress has lost 22 supporters but we have restrained them from reacting,” said Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee after the saffron party intensified its stir in the district.

Also read: Amit Shah’s meeting with Sena aimed at placating ally; will meet Madhuri Dixit, Ratan Tata, too

Besides denouncing the alleged murders, the Purulia agitation is also aimed at protesting the arrest of 11 Bajrang Dal activists in connection with an arms manufacturing racket in Murshidabad district. “Eleven of our activists have been falsely implicated in an old case involving an illegal arms supply unit. These workers are not linked to the Murshidabad arms rackets,” asserted Sayantan Basu.

All the activists were arrested between May 21 and May 23 this year on a number of charges, including posting offensive material on Facebook and indulging in violence during the Ram Navami festivities.

“This is where we performed best in the panchayat polls. The Trinamool Congress wants to destroy our organisation because all indications hint at it losing this Lok Sabha seat in 2019. We will not give in without a do-or-die battle,” said BJP state president Dilip Ghosh.

First Published: Jun 06, 2018 15:07 IST