Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president JP Nadda will launch the party’s first campaign aimed at farmers in poll-bound West Bengal when he visits East Burdwan district, which is considered as the state’s rice bowl, on Saturday.
With the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government planning to hold a special session of the legislative assembly to introduce a resolution against the Centre’s recent farm laws that led to unrest in Punjab, the BJP’s focus on Bengal’s farmers prior to the crucial assembly polls is a significant move, BJP leaders feel.
The BJP central office in Delhi announced in a statement on Friday that Nadda will visit Jagadanandapur village in Katwa at 11.50 am where he will address a ‘Krishok Surokkha’ (farmers’ protection) meeting.
This will mark the beginning of 40,000 such meetings to be held across Bengal before the elections, the party announced.
Nadda will also kick-start a door-to-door rice collection programme which has been named ‘Ek Mutthi Chawal Sangrah’ (collecting a fistful of rice) campaign in Jagadananadapur village after offering prayers at a popular temple. He will also have lunch at the home of a local farmer.
“The ‘Ek Mutthi Chawal Sangrah’ campaign is to reassert the party and its government’s commitment and conviction towards the growth, progress and prosperity of farmers. Before the 2021 Vidhan Sabha elections in West Bengal, the BJP will reach out to the homes of all the 73 lakh villagers across the state,” the BJP central office said in the statement.
The TMC reacted by calling the campaign “ridiculous and meaningless.”
“This is ridiculous. At a time when thousands of farmers are agitating outside the gates of Delhi against the Centre’s farm laws, going for a symbolic procurement of rice at a village in Katwa is meaningless. There is no problem with procurement in Bengal. Nadda should rather stay in Delhi and talk to the farmers whose problems are yet to be resolved,” said TMC Lok Sabha member and party spokesperson Saugata Roy.
At the receiving end of attacks by the BJP since 2014 for not implementing the Centre’s social welfare projects for farmers, chief minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to the Centre on September 9 that she was open to the implementation of the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme for farmers as well as the Ayushman Bharat Yojana healthcare scheme if the funds were transferred directly to her government for disbursement. This has been opposed by the Centre and the BJP.
Nadda will also offer prayers at the historic Sarbamangala temple in Burdwan town and lead a roadshow from Burdwan Clock Tower to the Curzon Gate. Later, he will address the media and the party’s core committee members before returning to Delhi.
Nadda’s plane will land at Andal airport in West Burdwan district in the morning and leave late in the evening. He is scheduled to fly from Andal to Katwa in East Burdwan in a chopper.
This is Nadda’s first visit to Bengal since his convoy was stoned at Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas district on December 10. Security arrangements for Nadda has been tightened manifold in view of the attack.
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