File photo | Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation on Covid-19, on 30 June, 2020 | PTI
File photo | Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation on Covid-19, on 30 June, 2020 | PTI

Kolkata: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit poll-bound West Bengal next month in an effort to boost the BJP’s electoral campaign.

Modi is likely to participate in programmes to be organised to celebrate Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary. 

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Last week, the central government had issued a statement announcing the formation of a high-level committee that would plan the celebration of Bose’s 125 birth anniversary.

According to sources in the central government, PM Modi is scheduled to visit Bengal on 23 January. But the date will be confirmed next week, said a senior central government official. 

The programmes in which PM Modi will take part will be discussed and decided when Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be in Kolkata, added the official. 

Shah will visit the state between 12-14 January. He is likely to address rallies in Howrah and North 24 Parganas, said BJP sources.

Also read: Why the 2021 Bengal polls will see a tough fight between formidable Mamata Banerjee & BJP

Electoral boost

On 21 December, the central government constituted a committee to plan the celebration of Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary. The committee, headed by Shah, includes Netaji’s family members, apart from historians and other eminent personalities of Azad Hind Fauj, founded by Bose.

PM Modi’s visit to Bengal before the crucial state election is seen as a major boost to the party. 

A senior state BJP leader, who didn’t want to be named, said the party is yet to decide if the PM would address any rally in January. 

“We will try to fix one or two rallies for the PM to address in some districts, but the final call will be taken by the PM’s office,” the leader added. 

In the past week, Modi’s national addresses have remained West Bengal-centric.

During his virtual address to the farmers last Friday, the PM launched a scathing attack on Mamata Banerjee, saying hers was the only government in the country that did not send the list of the farmer beneficiaries to the Centre, depriving over 70 lakh farmers in the state.

In another virtual address on the Visva-Bharati University’s foundation day last Thursday, PM Modi spoke about Rabindranath Tagore and his Gujarat connections. 

Meanwhile, the BJP is expecting more Trinamool Congress MLAs, including a minister, to join them during Shah’s visit to the state next month — third in three months.

“We have a long list of Trinamool leaders who want to join us, but we also need to do our research and decide on the induction. We cannot commit mistakes now,” said a second BJP leader.

Also read: Modi govt’s order to Bengal IPS officers shows federalism is back to Indira Gandhi’s ways


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