BJP president, Amit Shah has landed in Kolkata, today on a visit that turned contentious soon after it was announced. Finally, they did get permission for the rally at the prime location — Mayo Road, in central Kolkata. The protests are to take place across Bengal, but not in Kolkata. The BJP claims the protests are an attempt to sabotage Mr. Shah’s rally.
Ms. Banerjee had once been a vocal votary of deporting illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. But a decade back, CPM was still the dominant political force in Bengal and enjoyed the support of the Muslim community including pockets widely perceived to be inhabited by illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
The Trinamool Congress went ahead and called for protests today against the National Register of Citizens or NRC in Assam. Mr. Shah’s Kolkata visit is part of his effort to rapidly expand the party’s base that sends 42 lawmakers to Lok Sabha. In 2014, it had won just two seats from Bengal and hopes to improve its tally in 2019. The BJP chief has handed his party an ambitious target of 50 percent Lok Sabha seats in the state.
In letters sent to the state administration and the home minister in Delhi, the state BJP has said the timing of the Trinamool protests was aimed at preventing BJP’s supporters from entering the state capital to hear Mr. Shah speak.