BJP chief Amit Shah on Tuesday lunched at a tribal's house, and knocked on the doors of the locals here as part of an intensive booth-level mass contact programme in Naxalabari block -- the cradle of the 50-year-old Maoist movement in India -- in northern West Bengal's Darjeeling district.Shah held a meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in booth number 93 of the Naxalbari assembly constituency at the house of the party's only panchayat member in the area -- Sadhana Mandal, to mark the start of his 15-day 'Vistar Yatra' to expand the party's base.The BJP president, who arrived here at 11 a.m., had lunch at the house of party activist Raju Mahali -- a tribal daily wager, who makes a living by painting apartments and buildings.Shah sat on the floor at Mahali's spartan house in Dakkhin Katiajote village, and was served vegetarian fare on a banana leaf. The menu was rice, moong dal, 'potol' (a small gourd) fry, squash curry, papad and salad.At the workers' meeting, Shah accused the Mamata Banerjee-led state government of not letting the central government's developmental schemes percolate down to the grassroots.
"The Bengal government is not letting Modiji's schemes to percolate down to the grassroots. A (Pradhan Mantri) Ujjawala Yojana is working well in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana. But we are facing difficulties in Bengal in delivering the benefits of Modiji's scheme to the poor and the under-privileged people," Shah said."The Bengal government thinks they will be able to stop Modiji's chariot. I want to tell the leaders of Trinamool Congress that the more you try to dominate, the more you carry out injustice, the lotus will bloom," he said.Shah said Bengal is becoming poorer by the day and the state, which once led the nation, has now plunged into "chaos due to the prevailing unemployment, violence and appeasement politics" pursued by the Banerjee regime."After observing the public enthusiasm,, I am confident that the lotus will bloom. The progress of BJP in Bengal is a certainty. No one can block its way forward," he said.Alluding to the recent Kanthi Dakhsin assembly by-poll, where the BJP finished second by pushing the Left Front to the third spot, Shah said the huge support for the BJP is an indication of "Bengal's yearning for change from TMC's misrule and politics of appeasement".
Describing Naxalbari as one of the last frontier villages in the country, sharing borders with Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, Shah asserted that the central government led by Narendra Modi has been working to reach out to all such villages in the country through its developmental programme."I Will spread the message of PM Modi's pro-poor governance and Sabka Saath-Sabka Vikas (development for all with all) from Naxalbari, once known for violent Red Revolution," he said, referring to the area which was the stage for an armed peasant uprising in 1967 led by the local tribals that inspired the Maoist movement which over time spread to various other states.The BJP chief also praised the demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes by the Modi government, arguing that the policy has benefitted the country and played a "big part" in the recently-held assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, which the party swept.Shah is scheduled to visit Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's constituency Bhowanipore in south Kolkata on Wednesday. The eastern state forms the first leg of Shah's 'Vistar Yatra', during which he would spend three days each in four states and a Union Territory, in an effort to strengthen the party organisation at the grassroots.After West Bengal, Shah would move to Odisha, Telangana, poll-bound Gujarat and the Union Territory of Lakshwadeep.Shah is scheduled to visit select booths in each port of his call, holding workers' meetings, going to some houses as part of an intensive mass contact programme, and addressing intellectuals, besides interacting with senior party leaders.