A day after Maoists killed 25 CRPF jawans in an ambush in district Sukma of Chhattisgarh, BJP president Amit Shah would launch an expansion drive of the saffron party from Naxalbari – a village in West Bengal from where the left-wing violence started in the late 1960s. Shah’s visit was planned in advance. But in the wake of the ghastly incident by left-wing terrorists in Chhattisgarh, the BJP president’s visit to Naxalbari in West Bengal assumes significance as the BJP tries to expand its footprint in Mamata Banerjee-ruled state.
Here are five things to know about Shah’s visit to Naxalbari and BJP expansion drive:
- Shah’s visit to Naxalbari is a part of the 15-day pravas (tour) for expanding BJP in states where the party has so far not been able to make an impact — West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Odisha and Telangana. According to PTI, Shah is expected to spend at least three days each in the five state, where he would spend time and interact with the booth-level workers of the BJP and boost their morale.
- Why Naxalbari? According to BJP leader and Union Minister Smriti Irani, Shah would give a message of solidarity to BJP workers who have allegedly “suffered” violence in Naxalbari and West Bengal by starting the drive from there. The saffron party has accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of unleashing violence on BJP workers in the state.
Ambush of CRPF men in Sukma is an act of cowardice. I am pained beyond words at the loss of lives. My condolences to the martyrs families.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) April 24, 2017
- According to an NDTV report, Shah would first reach Siliguri and then drive to Naxalbari to take part in the “booth chalo (lets go to booth) campaign. For this the saffron party may also rope in “effective” CPM workers, said the report.
- On Monday, Irani also said that Shah would take forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message of “development of all” from a place (Naxalbari) where the movement to overthrow the Indian state started.
- Along with Shah, several top party leaders and almost all Union ministers would participate in the campaign to boost BJP organisation at the booth level in West Bengal as well as other four states. During the 15-day campaign, around 3.68 lakh BJP workers would work for the party for 15 days and over 4000 would work for the party across the country between the period of six months and a year, according to Irani.
On Monday, Maoists killed 25 CRPF jawans and injured six others in the biggest attack on the security forces in Chhatisgarh in the last seven years. The incident took place in the Burkapal area of Sukma when the jawans of CRPF’s 74th Battalion were engaged in securing an under-construction road in the Maoist stronghold.
(With agency inputs)