KOLKATA: In a bid to blunt TMC chief Mamata Banerjee’s barrage of attacks in the backdrop of farmers’ protest, BJP’s national president JP Nadda will visit Katwa in East Burdwan district, known as Bengal’s rice bowl, on January 9 and address farmers on the issue of newly passed Farm Bills.
In an attempt to woo farmers, Nadda will meet a few of them and collect rice as a "good gesture" which would deliver a message that the BJP-led Centre is not anti-farmers.
With Nadda’s Bengal visit, the party is all set to launch an outreach drive titled "Shunun Chashibhai" (listen to farmer brothers) across the state, and BJP leaders will carry out a door-to-door campaign in the areas where people depend on agriculture for livelihood.
"The ruling TMC is preparing for an attack on our party on the farmers' issue. There is a large number of people directly or indirectly depend on agriculture. If the ruling party portrays the BJP as a force that is against the farmers, it will cause a jolt to us in the Assembly elections. Before they start attacking us, we will have to reach the farmers and Naddaji’s event was scheduled aiming on it," said a senior BJP leader.
There are 71.23 lakh farm families in West Bengal of whom 96% are small and marginal farmers.
The saffron camp’s Bengal chapter assigned Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee, who is the observer of the party’s farmers' wing, to oversee the new outreach initiative. "Naddaji’s visit to East Burdwan and farmer families will deliver a positive message. Our outreach drive will be carried out from north Bengal to the remote villages in south Bengal," she said.
Sources in the BJP said the party’s lower-tier functionaries would visit farmers’ families door-to-door and make them understand about the positive impacts of the new Farm Bills. "We will also highlight the TMC-led state government’s anti-farmer policy," said a BJP leader.
Referring to Nadda’s forthcoming Bengal visit, TMC MP and spokesperson Saugata Roy said he (Nadda) should stand beside the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. "Instead, he is rushing to Katwa. It will not bring them any dividends. People of Bengal understand all these dramas," he said.