Union home minister Amit Shah during his two-day visit to West Bengal is set to flag off the Bharatiya Janata Party’s fifth and final rath yatra today. This marks Shah’s second visit to the poll-bound state within a week.
A senior BJP leader commented saying, “Shah is scheduled to flag off the fifth and final parivartan rath yatra today [Thursday] from Namkhana in South 24 Parganas district. He will also visit the Kapil Muni Ashram on Sagar Island and Bharat Sevashram Sangha in Kolkata,” adding, “Shah also has a set of programmes to attend on Friday before he flies back to New Delhi.”
The union home minister will reportedly have lunch with a refugee family at Narayanpur village in South 24 Parganas and later attend a roadshow before coming back to Kolkata. The rath yatra is set to kick off around 12:50 pm.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee have also organised a workers’ meet at Pailan around the same time in the same district. TMC plans to turn this into a mega event as TMC leader Shaukat Molla claimed, “There will be a huge turnout – of over one lakh people – in our event on Thursday.”
BJP on the other hand has declared the final rath yatra to be a direct challenge to the chief minister and her nephew, Abhishek Banerjee. “The fifth rath yatra will pass through two prestigious constituencies, Diamond Harbour and South Kolkata. While the former is the constituency of TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee, South Kolkata is the home turf of the chief minister. Mamata Banerjee is the MLA of Bhawanipur assembly constituency in South Kolkata,” a senior BJP leader said.
The BJP plans to take the 5th rath yatra through Sirakol in Diamond Harbour where the convoy of BJP national president JP Nadda was attacked last year. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also scheduled to inaugurate a four-km extension of the city’s north-south Metro corridor from Noapara to Dakshineshwar on February 22 and hold a public meeting in Hooghly’s Chinsurah the same day.