Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to West Bengal on the second day was marked by a roadshow in Bolpur in Birbhum district, a predominantly Trinamool Congress(TMC) bastion. His repeated pledge of a Sonar Bangla was met with huge applause as BJP supporters thronged the streets to hear what the saffron party has in store for West Bengal if they come to power in the 2021 Assembly elections.
“You have given Trinamool Congress a chance, now give Narendra Modi a chance, we will make it Sonar Bangla (Golden Bengal) in 5 years,” said Amit Shah.
“In place of TMC, there will a BJP government and this change will be one of development. This change will be to stop infiltration from Bangladesh and to stop violence, to stop the extortion and dynasty politics(referring to Abhishek Banerjee). I promise you, we will take Bengal on the path of development,” added Shah whose aggressive pitch of bagging 200 of 294 seats will see frequent visits to West Bengal in the next 6 months.
Shah was careful to strike the right chord amongst the intellectual population of Bengal and evoke the sentiments of Bengali culture to combat West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegations of BJP being an ‘outsider’ and detached from the state’s cultural heritage.
His Birbhum visit started with paying a floral tribute to Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore at Vishwa Bharati university followed by a visit to the temple and lunch at a traditional Bengali baul singer Basudeb Das’s house.
Das performed the song “Tomay Hrid Majhare Rakhbo Chere Debo Na” as the Union Home Minister listened. The lunch menu prepared by the baul singer included roti, rice, dal, spinach, brinjal and curd amongst others.
Meanwhile, TMC did not keep quiet allowing Shah to walk over them, despite the exodus of Mamata’s key stooge Suvendu Adhikari and more than 10 others who joined the saffron party during Shah’s West Midnapore rally on Saturday.
“Those who stab their own party and go to another party, can never be true to anyone. History proves that they can never reach any higher place. We call them traitors. I believe they will deceive anyone again. We believe people of Bengal will stand by us,” said TMC leader Subrata Mukherjee in a press conference.
The TMC leader also clarified the state’s stance on BJP President JP Nadda’s convoy attack on December 10th in Kolkata. “The state had organized Z plus security for JP Nadda. They allowed an outside car to be included in the convoy and were responsible for what happened. It was not because of the state government,” clarified the TMC leader.
While Mamata tweeted on another issue, it was a sign that the TMC will not keep quiet as Shah makes bold promises to capture TMC turf.
“Centre is brazenly interfering with State Govt functioning by transferring police officers. My gratitude to Bhupesh Baghel, Arvind Kejriwal, Capt. Amarinder Singh, Ashok Gehlot and MK Stalin for showing solidarity to people of Bengal and reaffirming their commitment to federalism. Thank you!” tweeted Mamata.
As Shah promises frequent visits to West Bengal, TMC is strategizing ways to woo voters and keep the outsiders away from Mamata’s turf.