Purulia: BJP president Amit Shah will address a public meeting on Thursday in this backward West Bengal district bordering Jharkhand, where the saffron party made significant gains in last month's rural polls over the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC). The party claims that three of its supporters were killed in Purulia before and after the rural polls in the state. Shah arrived in Kolkata on Wednesday on a two-day visit to the state.
The BJP has named the podium, from which Shah will address the rally, "Shahid Jagannath Tudu, Trilochan Mahato, Dulal Kumar Smaran Mancha" in the memory of its three "supporters", sources in the party said. The TMC, however, claimed that the three men had died for different reasons.
"While one died in an accident, the second committed suicide and the third was a case of murder, which is being investigated by the state CID," TMC Purulia district president Shantiram Mahato said.
The rally ground has been covered with a huge steel-frame "shamiana" to ensure that those in the audience do not get drenched in the intermittent monsoon showers. "We are expecting a gathering of three lakh people," an upbeat BJP Purulia district president Bidyasagar Chakraborty said, while supervising the preparations at the rally ground.
A public rally will be held by the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC at the same venue on Sunday to counter the BJP offensive, Mahato said, adding that it will be addressed by three state ministers: Suvendu Adhikary, Firhad Hakim and Sashi Panja. "The rally will be held to give a fitting reply to the BJP's attempt to mislead the people," the TMC leader told PTI.
The tribal-dominated Jangalmahal, comprising parts of four western Bengal districts including Purulia, was once a Maoist stronghold till the TMC gained a strong foothold in the region. However, in last month's three-tier panchayat polls, the BJP made inroads in Purulia by bagging a good number of seats.
Asked about the corruption allegations levelled by the BJP against the ruling party, Mahato said the saffron party had been "able to mislead some people in some areas, which our party members could not counter properly".
Updated Date: Jun 27, 2018 22:17:14 IST