Kolkata: With an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s national president Amit Shah will kick off its ‘Rath Yatra’ on December 7 in West Bengal. The event will be conducted by the party’s Bengal unit under the banner of ‘Save Democracy Rally’.
The high-profile Rath Yatra will begin from Cooch Behar district and is being touted as the saffron party’s strong attempts to make inroads in the state.
Senior BJP leaders including Tripura chief minister Biplab Deb, national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and state president Dilip Ghosh, will be present during the inauguration of the event in Cooch Behar.
“Amit Shah ji will perform puja at famous Madan Mohan Thakur Bari in Cooch Behar around 10 am. Then, he will flag off the Yatra after addressing a public meeting in Jhingaidanga. The Yatra will cover all the eight assembly constituencies, covering nearly 200 kms in Cooch Behar and will continue till December 10,” said senior BJP leader Pranab Pal.
Pal added that through these yatras, the BJP “wants to strengthen the party and reach out to the maximum number of polling booths in the state”
After Cooch Bihar, the Yatra is scheduled to begin from Kakdwip in the south 24 Parganas district on December 9 and from the Tarapith temple in Birbhum district on December 14.
Three air-conditioned buses decorated as chariots carrying Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders will criss-cross the entire state for nearly 40 days starting from December 7, covering all the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.
In order to cover all the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies, the BJP leaders will travel in three air-conditioned buses decorated as chariots to highlight Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s success stories. The chariots will be named after well-known saints.
BJP Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh said, “This will be one of the biggest event by the BJP in Bengal. Our national party president Amit Shah ji will be present here and this will be a call for ‘parivartan’ in Bengal. It is to oust the Mamata Banerjee led TMC government in Bengal.”
Invitations were sent to all the Chief Ministers of the BJP ruled states and union ministers including Yogi Adityanath, Biplab Deb, Nirmala Sitharaman, Raman Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Sarbananda Sonowal, Arun Jaitley.
“We are expecting a huge response from masses in Bengal. The ‘Rath Yatra’ is just the beginning of Didi’s rule,” Ghosh added.
BJP is gearing up to target 22 Parliamentary seats out of 42 in the Bengal. The party presently has two Lok Sabha seats (Asansol and Darjeeling) in the state. In 2014, Union ministers Babul Supriyo and SS Ahluwalia won from Asansol and Darjeeling respectively, while Trinamool Congress won 34 seats and CPM and Congress won two seats each.
The party is expecting good results in Krishna Nagar, Howrah, Purulia, Jhargram, Bankura, Alipurduar, Cooch Behar in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. BJP has made firm inroads by winning noticeable seats – more than Congress and CPI (M) – in the three-tier Panchayat polls held in May this year in West Bengal.
Meanwhile, to counter BJP’s Rath Yatra, Trinamool Congress’s Birbhum president Anubrata Mondal announced its own ‘Kirtan rally’. Recently, chief minister Mamata Banerjee while terming BJP’s ‘Rath Yatra’ as ‘Ravana Yatra’ vouched to win all 42 constituencies in West Bengal in the next general elections.
She had said, “This is ‘Ravana Yatra’ not ‘Rath Yatra’. I would like to announce that Trinamool Congress will take out ‘Pavitra Yatra’ a day after BJP’s ‘Ravana Yatra’ in all the places. The ‘Rath Yatra’ will pollute Bengal’s soil and we will purify it through ‘Pavitra Yatra’.”