BJP president JP Nadda arrived in West Bengal on Saturday to launch his party's door-to-door rice collection program aimed at wooing farmers, amid the ongoing protest in Delhi over the contentious agriculture laws. He will reach out to the farmers of a village during his day-long visit to the state. This is Nadda's first visit to West Bengal after the attack on his convoy during his journey to Diamond Harbour from Kolkata on December 10.
Nadda arrived at Andal airport at around 11.45 am and took a helicopter ride from there to reach Jagdanandpur village in Purba Bardhaman district, where he offered puja at a temple.
An elaborate security arrangement has been put in place across the district to prevent untoward incidents.
Nadda, in a bid to blunt the opposition camp's "anti-farmer" allegations against the BJP-led central government, floated 'Ek Muthi Chawal' (a fistful of rice), a program under which he would collect rice from farmers' homes and brief them about the benefits of three new farm laws.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at Delhi borders for over a month against the three laws.
The BJP chief will hold a roadshow from Clock Tower to Lord Curzon Gate in Burdwan and address a press conference too.
His address at "Krishok Surokkha Gram Sabha" (farmers' security meeting at the village) in Jagadanandpur will mark the beginning of 40,000 such meetings to be held by the BJP across West Bengal before the assembly elections.
"After the launch of the campaign by our party president, our cadres will reach out to 48,000 villages of the state, where they will be visiting farmer households to collect rice and brief them about the new agriculture laws," a senior state BJP leader said.
Nadda will have lunch at a farmer's residence and hold a gram sabha meeting during the day.
There are 71.23 lakh farmers' families in West Bengal, 96 per cent of them small and marginal. The saffron party has launched an aggressive campaign in West Bengal in its bid to end Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's 10-year-old reign in the state.
With Banerjee, also the head of the Trinamool Congress, backing the farmers who are protesting against the three agriculture laws, the BJP has gone all out to convince them about the "benefits" of these Acts.
Elections to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly are due in April-May.
(With PTI inputs)