The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to begin its Rath Yatra from December 7, as it eyes on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The yatra would prove to be a "game changer" in West Bengal politics, the party claims. The campaign titled 'Save Democracy Rally' would be kickstarted by BJP President Amit Shah.
The campaign is scheduled to begin from Coochbehar district in the north on December 7, from Kakdwip in the south 24 Parganas district on December 9 and from the Tarapith temple in Birbhum district on December 14.
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"The Rath Yatra will be a game changer in West Bengal politics. This will kickstart a wave of support in favour of the BJP and will become a deciding factor in the next general elections," BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said.
Several top BJP leaders and chief ministers such as Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Raman Singh, Yogi Adityanath, Uma Bharati and Giriraj Singh will also take part in the campaign, other than the prime minister and the party president.
Modi is also likely to attend four rallies to give a thrust to the party's campaign in the state ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
"People will come out on the streets and join our rally irrespective of caste, religion and creed," Ghosh said.
The BJP has emerged as the biggest competition to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) by outsmarting the CPI(M) and the Congress in several by-elections.
Shah had set a target of winning 22 Lok Sabha seats out of 42 seats in the state.
Some of the seats which the BJP will be targeting in the next Lok Sabha polls are Balurghat, Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Malda North in north Bengal and Purulia, Jhargram, Medinipur, Krishnagar, Howrah in south Bengal, revealed a senior BJP leader.
According to the party sources, the party's main purpose of conducting Rath Yatras is to strengthen its organisation and reach out to the maximum number of polling booths in the state.
West Bengal has around 77,000 polling booths.
BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya claimed that the campaign will expose the "misrule and corruption" of the state government.
"The police is acting as if they are party members of the TMC. We would expose the criminalisation of politics and politicisation of the administration pursued by the TMC government in the state. This Rath Yatra is being conducted to save democracy in West Bengal," Vijayvargiya said.
The party will also use this as an opportunity to spread awareness about NRC in Assam, he said.
While the BJP is buoyant over the Rath Yatra, the TMC, however, alleged that the main purpose of the campaign is to create communal tensions in the state.
"The main agenda of the BJP is to create communal rift in West Bengal. But their agenda of dividing people on religious lines will fail," TMC secretary Partha Chatterjee said.
It is the TMC which pursues the policy of appeasement as the BJP believes in the politics of "Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas" said Vijayvargiya, as he rubbished the allegations of Chatterjee.