Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address four mega public rallies in West Bengal starting March 14, as the BJP looks at him to make a dent in the first two phases of the assembly election to be held on March 27 and on April 1.
Most of the areas in the first two phases fall under Jangalmahal area, and Suvendu Adhikari’s home turf of Contai, where BJP’s exponential growth in the 2019 Lok Sabha was most noticeable.
In the first phase, polling will be held in five districts and 30 assembly seats. The districts include Purulia, West Midnapore Part I, Bankura Part I, East Midnapore Part I and Jhargram. In the second phase, polling will be held in 30 assembly seats in four districts including Bankura Part II, East Midnapore Part II, West Midnapore Part II and South 24 Parganas Part I.
Speaking to News18, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the PM will address four public meetings in Purulia, Kharagpur, Bankura and Contai. “His rallies were planned in such a way that it will cover the first two phases of the elections in West Bengal. The rallies will be held in a span of 10 days. His final schedule will be announced soon.”
When asked why he is not contesting from the Kharagpur Sadar seat, where he won in 2016, Ghosh said he should concentrate on his work as an MP from Midnapore. “Unlike other parties, selection of candidates in the BJP is usually done by the central leadership. In my case too, they decided that I should not contest from Kharagpur Sadar and instead fielded Bengali actor Hiranmoy Chattopadhyay. I think it is a good decision.”
He downplayed suggestions that the decision had anything to do with the BJP’s poor show in 2019 by-elections in Kharagpur Sadar in West Midnapore. “Then, TMC won the by-elections with money power. They used money to win the elections. This time it will not happen. People in Kharagpur Sadar are with the BJP and I am hopeful that they will extend their support to our candidate.”
In 2019, the BJP had suffered a major setback in the bypolls after Trinamool Congress won all three seats: Kaliaganj in North Dinajpur, Kharagpur Sadar in West Midnapore, and Karimpur assembly seat in Nadia district of Bengal.