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BJP to hold ‘rath yatra' in West Bengal

Staff Reporter

KOLKATA: Buoyed by the party's past successes in organising ‘rath yatras' to further its political agenda, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership announced here on Monday that it would flag off a similar ‘yatra' in West Bengal from January 30, which would be attended by several members of the party's Central leadership.

Scheduled to commence from the Cooch Behar district in North Bengal, the march which has been named ‘Naba Jagaran Yatra' (new-awakening march), will traverse through 17 districts of the State, and culminate in a rally in the city on February 15.

“While senior party leader Lal Krishna Advani will be present at the rally, the yatra will be flagged off by the party's National executive member Rajnath Singh. Several other leaders like Sushma Swaraj, Hema Malini and Shahnawaz Hussein will also participate,” Chandan Mitra, BJP's central observer for West Bengal, said at a press conference. He added that Chief Ministers of the BJP-led State governments had also been invited to participate in the rally.

Asked about the significance of organising such a ‘yatra' in the run-up to the State Assembly elections, Mr. Mitra said that the party “has been trying to project itself as the only political alternative” to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Trinamool Congress and the Congress in the State for the last one year through several political programmes.

He, however, ruled out the possibility of forging an alliance with erstwhile partner Trinamool Congress.

“An alliance with the Trinamool Congress was made in the past in keeping with the then-prevailing circumstances. But there is no possibility of such an alliance now,” Mr. Mitra asserted, though he added that the BJP was not averse to team up with other smaller parties for the forthcoming State Assembly elections.

Pointing out that the steep rise in the prices of fuel and essential commodities, the rising incidents of corruption and financial scams, the reservation on the lines of religion and ‘politics over the dead' allegedly practiced by parties in the State would be the main issues raised by the party during the ‘yatra', he said that the party leaders would also highlight achievements of BJP-led State governments in other States to compare them with the current status of West Bengal.

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