After chopper landing row, Amit Shah to address rally in Bengal’s Malda today


BJP president Amit Shah will today kick off the party’s campaign in West Bengal for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with a rally in Malda. The event comes days after chief minister Mamata Banerjee hosted a mega opposition gathering in Kolkata.

“On my two days visit to West Bengal, I will address public meetings in Malda (on 22nd Jan) & Jhargram (on 23rd Jan). BJP, under the leadership of PM Modi, is committed to restore the pride of West Bengal, which is ruined by Mamata Didi’s politics of appeasement,” Amit Shah said in a tweet on Monday.

Hours after Banerjee’s opposition unity show on Saturday, the Bharatiya Janata Party announced a series of public meetings by top party leaders, including Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Yogi Adityanath in all 42 Lok Sabha seats of the state by February 8. There will be a ban on use of loudspeakers in the state from February 9 to March 13 due to the state board exams.

Watch | Mamata Banerjee rubbishes Amit Shah’s chopper controversy, calls it misleading

The rallies came after the Mamata Banerjee government refused permission for its “rath yatra”, citing law and order concerns. The party had contested the denial of permission in the courts and fought it up to the Supreme Court, but failed to get any relief. The apex court had, however, allowed the BJP to hold public meetings.

Bengal is crucial in the BJP’s plan for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the party has set itself a target of 22 seats in the state. The party which currently holds two seats in the state, has been bolstered with a number of senior Trinamool Congress leaders joining it.

Shah’s rally in Malda, where he will address party workers in north Bengal, comes a day after a row between the BJP and the state government over a landing spot for his helicopter.

Initially, the district administration Monday told the BJP that permission to land a helicopter on the ground opposite the Hotel Golden Park, where the aircraft of chief minister Banerjee also lands, will not be possible as the airport was being renovated and that construction material was lying on the runway.

The local unit of the BJP, however, pointed out that it already being used by the state government. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also accused Banerjee of “abusing her power” to block Shah’s helicopter from landing in Malda and using “falsehood” to deny permission.

Chief minister Banerjee later said that her government gave the permission to the BJP chief to use a helipad in the town as they believe in democracy.

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