Home Minister Amit Shah will arrive in Kolkata tonight on a two-day visit to take stock of the BJP’s campaign for the upcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal. His visit comes amid a rebellion within the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state.
Political heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari, who quit the Trinamool Congress and gave up cabinet portfolios in the Mamata Banerjee government, may join BJP during Amit Shah’s visit along with a number of disgruntled TMC leaders, including some MLAs such as Silbhadra Dutta and Jitendra Tiwari.
Amit Shah will be staying at a hotel in Newtown after arriving in Kolkata, a BJP leader said.
“On Saturday morning, he has a scheduled meeting with officials of the NIA (National Investigation Agency). Then he will visit Swami Vivekanada’s residence in north Kolkata to pay tributes,” the state BJP leader said.
“Later, Mr Shah will travel to Midnapore where he will pay tributes to revolutionary Khudiram Bose and offer puja (prayers) at two temples,” he said.
After this, he will visit a farmer’s home for lunch, followed by a mega public rally at the Midnapore College ground.
“There are chances that several TMC leaders will join the party at this rally. After the rally, he will return to Kolkata and hold meetings with state leaders and take stock of the organisation,” the BJP leader said.
On Sunday, Amit Shah is scheduled to visit the Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan and then have lunch at the house of a Baul singer.
“He will then lead a roadshow in Bolpur. It will be followed by a press conference. After that, he will leave for Delhi,” the BJP leader said.
Amit Shah’s visit comes in the backdrop of growing animosity between the Centre and the state with the Home Ministry asking the West Bengal government to immediately relieve its three IPS officers for central deputation, provoking a combative Mamata Banerjee to brand the move as “unconstitutional and unacceptable”.
BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh has said that Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda would visit West Bengal every month till the assembly elections, likely in April-May 2021, are over.
Mr Nadda was on a day-long visit to north Bengal in October and came on a two-day tour last week, while Amit Shah was in the state for two days in November.