Clashes have been reported in the industrial town of Durgapur in West Bengal ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled rally. According to a report in India Today, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers of attacking their supporters. Durgapur is near the Asansol Lok Sabha constituency held by Union Minister Babul Supriyo.
The BJP alleged that TMC supporters pulled down makeshift welcome gate, hoardings, and banners related to PM Modi’s visit. Some of such posters were seen blacked in Durgapur.
In Durgapur, PM Modi is expected to launch a nearly 300-km-long electrified section of the railways. The electrification of this section will enable ease of transportation of coal, stone chips and ballast to North and Northeast India in a seamless manner.
He will also inaugurate a 20-km-long Hijli-Narayangarh third line, a statement from his office said.
West Bengal: Crowds begin to gather at Thakurnagar for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's public rally scheduled to begin at 12pm pic.twitter.com/mrdUaakNTy— ANI (@ANI) February 2, 2019
Apart from Durgapur, PM Modi will also address a rally at Thakurnagar in the border district of North 24 Parganas, party sources said.
The venues of both the rallies have political significance. Thakurnagar, which is one of the venues, is the hub of the sizeable Matua community, who originally hails from erstwhile East Pakistan and began migrating to West Bengal in the beginning of the 1950s mostly due to religious persecution. The rally venue is near the house of Matua matriarch Binapani Debi.
Matuas with an estimated population of 30 lakh in West Bengal have influence in at least five Lok Sabha seats in North and South 24 Parganas districts.
The BJP state unit is hopeful that Modi will speak on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill at Thakurnagar in the circumstances, party sources said adding that the BJP-aligned faction of All India Matua Mahasangha is organising the rally.
The Durgapur rally of the prime minister will be part of BJP's 'Ganatantra Bachao' (save democracry) programme in the state.
The rallies are being held at a time when the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal has upped the ante against the BJP-headed government at the Centre and has given the call to oust the Modi government in the next General Election.
PM Modi is scheduled to address his third rally on February 8 at Siliguri in north Bengal, one of the areas where BJP had witnessed a surge in its vote share in the last panchayat polls.