KOLKATA: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is scheduled to address his maiden public rally here on December 20 as part of the efforts to buck up the BJP, which has been on an upsurge in this erstwhile Left citadel. Bhagwat will be wearing a “dhoti kurta” instead of the RSS attire for the public meeting at Shahid Minar, a popular city landmark, where he had earlier addressed a gathering of RSS workers.
The fact that the RSS chief has chosen the city as a venue for his public meet is quite significant in the light of the BJP’s increased vote share in the Lok Sabha polls, which also saw the party bagging two seats-- Darjeeling and Asansol. Not only that the party for the first time managed to win an Assembly seat on its own in the state, when Shamik Bhattacarya won the Basirhat Dakshin bypoll. More importantly, with the state scheduled to go to the polls in 2016, the BJP has cast its eyes on emerging as a major force on West Bengal’s political landscape.
During his Dusshera speech, Bhagwat had thrice mentioned West Bengal and spoke at length on how the demographic composition in the border districts of West Bengal was changing due to infiltration from Bangladesh. Just two days before his speech, the blasts at Khagragarh in Bardhaman took place on October 2 in which Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh terrorists were involved. The mushrooming of illegal madrasas across the state, particularly in the border districts where youths, including women, were indoctrinated in “jihadi philosophy and arms training”, has become a matter of serious concern for the Central intelligence agencies.
BJP president Amit Shah, during his visit to the state on September 7, had directed the state unit to turn the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam into a poll plank for the Assembly elections and begin the campaign right away. The Sangh “parivar” in West Bengal is convinced that along with the Saradha scam, infiltration from Bangladesh and the involvement of Islamist militants in terrorist activities in West Bengal under the umbrella of the ruling TMC should also be one of the main weapons against the state government. The BJP, now aided by the RSS, which has been rapidly growing in the state particularly in the border districts, will vociferously campaign about “anti-national activities” being patronised by the TMC leadership as part of its bank politics. Around 30 per cent of the electorate in WB are Muslims and a majority of them, after deserting the CPM-led Left Front, have thrown their weight behind the TMC.
Muslim voters are a deciding factor in 140 of the state’s 294 Assembly seats and many of the state’s Muslims are also joining the saffron brigade. Bhagwat, after the BJP came to power at the Centre in May, had visited the state four times and addressed RSS camps in which a large number of youths had participated. By now, the RSS has held 12 camps in West Bengal, in which 1,981 had participated.
Meanwhile, the VHP is organising “Hindu Sammelans” across the country to celebrate its golden jubilee and also stage public rallies on the occasion. Sachindranath Singha, zonal organising secretary of the VHP, said that the conferences would be held at five cities. “There will be five Hindu sammelans in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bhopal, Bangalore and New Delhi from December 14- February 22. When the VHP was formed in 1964 at Sandipani Ashram in Mumbai, the then RSS chief M S Golwalkar was present. That is why we have invited Bhagwatji to address the public meeting here,” he said.
The VHP is also planning to open branches in 341 blocks in WB and its public meeting, where Bhagwat will be one of the main speakers along with VHP working president Praveen Togadia, is expected to evoke a good response.