Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually address the people of West Bengal on 22 October around 12 noon on the occasion of the beginning of Durga Puja, the biggest festival in the state.
According to senior leaders of the BJP, the prime minister’s message would be live streamed on giant screens in at least 10 puja pandals across the state. They include the puja arena at EZCC in Salt Lake. Bengal BJP’s women’s wing is organising this puja. This is the first time the party is getting into organisation of Durga Puja officially anywhere in Bengal.
A senior BJP leader said that Modi’s address on Shasthi would, in effect, kickstart the party’s campaign for the crucial assembly election in 2021. The BJP has decided not to project anyone as its chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming polls. Instead, the party would highlight the ‘achievements’ of the Modi government to counter the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state.
A cultural programme on the sidelines of the puja at EZCC will see Babul Supriyo, the singer-turned-union environment and forest minister, perform. Noted dancer Dona Ganguly and her daughter are expected to perform along with their troupe. Dona Ganguly is the wife of former Indian skipper and current Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Saurav Ganguly.
“With elections coming, our poll battle will pick up once the festive season is over. Protests would continue meanwhile. We are waiting for the prime minister’s address as this might also give us some directions,” said a senior leader of the party.
Earlier this week, BJP president JP Nadda visited north Bengal where the party grew exponentially and had won seven of the region’s eight Lok Sabha seats in 2019 ― thanks to the clear threat perception of Hindus in the area who experience the impact of demographic change engineered by infiltrators from Bangladesh. The infiltration is rarely observed in the society of Kolkata and, hence, they stay aloof and deny the threat, say Bengal observers. After the Durga Puja, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to visit south Bengal where the ruling TMC still holds its ground.
This is the first time the BJP is moving to Durga Puja big-time, appreciating the fact that this region is swayed more by Mother Goddess than by Lord Rama who is a bigger hit in Hindi-speaking areas. The RSS and BJP has been holding Ram Navami celebrations in the state for the past three years.