Kolkata: Targeting West Bengal’s Trinamul Congress in what was once its home turf, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kickstart his Assembly election campaign from Haldia in East Midnapore, the Adhikari family bastion, with a BJP rally next week amid the party’s rathyatra led by its president J.P. Nadda and home minister Amit Shah seeking “parivartan” in the poll-bound state.
While Mr Modi’s Haldia visit was already due on February 7, when he will inaugurate three big-ticket Central industrial projects, his political rally was not on the one-day tour agenda as he was supposed to start his campaign only after the poll schedule was announced, BJP sources said.
However, the party’s state and central leadership decided at a meeting in New Delhi Tuesday to hold Mr Modi’s maiden rally for the polls as part of his Haldia tour. State BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said: “The PM will visit Haldia to attend a government event. We invited him to address a party rally there the same day.”
The sudden inclusion of the rally in the PM’s tour reflected local TMC MP Dibyendu Adhikari’s calculated preparations that fuelled speculation about his defection to the BJP in Mr Modi’s presence.
The state government has, meanwhile, asked the BJP to take permission for its five rathyatras from the district administrations. On Wednesday a PIL was filed in the Calcutta high court over the rathyatras, fearing these might disturb the state’s law and order situation....