Lunch on banana leaf, challenge to Mamata: Amit Shah launches BJP’s expansion drive from Bengal

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NEW DELHI: BJP president Amit Shah on April 25 launched his party’s expansion drive in five states from West Bengal’s Naxalbari village, declaring development and progress will start from the place where the left-wing extremism had its origins in the late 1960s.
Aiming to expand his party’s footprint ahead of the 2019 general elections, Shah met BJP workers and said the Trinamool Congress will not be able to stop Narendra Modi’s chariot and the “lotus will bloom” in Bengal.
The BJP chief had lunch at the house of a tribal family before interacting with party workers.
Sitting cross-legged on the floor of Raju Mahali’s house at Dakkhin Katiajote village in Naxalbari, Shah had a meal of rice, moong dal, ‘potol bhaja’ (a fried gourd dish), squash curry, salad and papad, served on a banana leaf.
Shah’s visit to Naxalbari comes a day after the deadly attack by naxalites in Chattisgarh’s Sukma district, in which 25 CRPF men were killed.
“The Naxals had started their violent activities here at Naxalbari and now, development and progress will start from here. Under Narendra Modi’s leadership, Bengal will very soon be on the path of development,” Shah said at a meeting of BJP workers at Naxalbari in Siliguri in north Bengal.
Shah also alleged that the TMC-led state government was not letting the benefits of central developmental schemes percolate down to the grassroots.
“Bengal, which was once at the forefront of development, now lags behind. Unemployment is high and the TMC government is following the policy of appeasement (of minorities),” alleged Shah.
But this, Shah proclaimed, can’t prevent the BJP’s lotus from blooming in the state.
“TMC may think they can stop Modiji’s chariot, but they cannot stop it. The more they try to stop us, the more the lotus will bloom here. In 2019 (Lok Sabha polls), the BJP will get the maximum number of seats in West Bengal. The people of the country will witness it,” the BJP leader claimed.
West Bengal is among the five states where he will spend three-days each as he looks to strengthen the party in the states where it has been traditionally weak, with an eye on the next Lok Sabha polls. Odisha, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are the other states that will be covered by Shah.

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