Kolkata: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah will kick off his campaign in West Bengal for the 2019 general election with a visit to Purulia, a district where his party is fast gaining ground, but it is unclear if he will visit the homes of families of the three workers who were killed recently allegedly because of their political affiliation.
Shah, who will arrive in Kolkata on Wednesday for a two-day visit of the state, will on Thursday address a rally in Purulia. The BJP chief may meet the families of the deceased party workers at the rally, said local leaders. However, it was not clear if he would visit their homes, these leaders said.
Trilochan Mahato and Dulal Kumar of the BJP were murdered after the recent panchayat elections allegedly by unknown assailants working for the Trinamool Congress. Another BJP worker of the district, Jagannath Tudu, was killed before the elections.
“We will make sure that the families of these party workers attend the public meeting, but it is not clear if the national president will meet them separately," said Sayantan Basu, general secretary of the BJP in West Bengal.
In April last year, a poor family had hosted Shah for lunch at their home in Naxalbari, but had allegedly been whisked away by the Trinamool Congress and had within days joined the party.
“The optics of it was pretty embarrassing," said another local BJP leader, who asked not to be named. “The Trinamool Congress might try to do the same thing with the families of these party workers in Purulia as well."
In April this year, in the run-up to the panchayat elections, the BJP had claimed that one of its party workers in Birbhum district, Sheikh Dildar, had been killed by the Trinamool Congress, but within hours, his father claimed in television interviews that Dildar was a Trinamool Congress worker.
Shah, during his Bengal visit, will meet party workers from different levels of the organizational hierarchy. He will meet top leaders of the party, as well as key campaigners for each of the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies, and the party’s steering committee for the 2019 general elections. The BJP president will also meet party workers from each district who are responsible for digital communication through social media.