Union Home Minister Amit Shah is on a two-day visit to West Bengal to take stock of the BJP’s affairs and activities in the districts, ahead of 2021 assembly election. Shah will arrive in Kolkata on Friday night.

Amid a growing rebellion in the ruling TMC, speculation is rife that Suvendu Adhikari, who quit the party and gave up cabinet portfolios in the Mamata Banerjee government, may join the BJP along with a slew of disgruntled leaders, including MLAs Silbhadra Dutta and Jitendra Tiwari, during Shah’s visit to the state.

According to a press statement issued by BJP national media In-charge, Anil Baluni, Shah will participate in various programmes and functions during the weekend. “In the wake of ensuing assembly elections, Amit Shah will also hold strategic and preparatory meetings,” he said.

Shah will be putting up at a hotel in Newtown after arriving in Kolkata around 11 PM, another BJP leader said. “On Saturday morning, he has a meeting scheduled with NIA officials. Next, he will visit Swami Vivekananda’s residence in north Kolkata to pay tributes. Later in the day, Shah will travel to Midnapore, where he will pay tributes to freedom fighter Khudiram Bose and offer prayers at two temples,” he said. He will visit a farmer’s home for lunch, and conduct a public rally at Midnapore College ground, the BJP leader said.

There are chances that several TMC leaders will join the party at this rally, he stated. Shah will also review election management work during a meeting with central ministers from West Bengal, organisation secretaries, zonal observers and BJP state general secretaries, following his return to the city, the saffron party leader said.

On December 20, Shah is scheduled to visit the Visva- Bharati University in Santiniketan and then have lunch at the residence of a Baul singer. “He will lead a roadshow in Bolpur from Hanuman Mandir to Bolpur Circle. A press conference will follow. After that, he will leave for Delhi,” the BJP leader said.

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”.

Reacting to the Shah’s visit, senior TMC leader Saugata Roy said it would hardly leave any impact as the people of the state are with Mamata Banerjee. “The people of the state have full faith in Mamata Banerjee’s leadership, and the visit by central BJP leaders would hardly make a difference,” Roy said.

BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh had earlier said that Shah and party president JP Nadda would be visiting West Bengal every month till the state elections are over. Assembly polls are likely to be held in April-May. 

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