The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will fully implement the Forest Rights Act in the tribal belts of West Bengal, buy all forest products at maximum support price, provide employment to all and spend thousands of crores of rupees on tribespeople if it wins the assembly election, Union home minister Amit Shah said in Bankura district on Monday.
He was supposed to address his first rally at Jhargram but his helicopter could not land because of a technical snag. Shah was then flown to Ranibandh. A few hours later, he virtually addressed Jhargram.
The minister targeted chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who was addressing rallies in the adjoining Purulia district where tribal voters are equally important for both parties. “My helicopter developed a snag but I will not say it is a conspiracy. There can be a snag in a helicopter. That is why I got late,” Shah said, referring to allegations by Banerjee that injuries sustained by her in Nandigram last week was a conspiracy.
In Ranibandh, Shah said, “We saw Mamata Didi got hurt in the leg. A probe is on to find out how it happened. TMC says it was a conspiracy to assault her. The Election Commission says it was an accident. God knows what is true. Didi you say you are hurt and sad. Do you feel the pain of the mothers of those 130 BJP workers who were killed in political violence?”
Shah promised a plethora of projects for the tribal belt, saying these would figure in the BJP’s election manifesto. His promises included a fund of ₹250 crore for places that tribal people consider holy, schools for children in all community blocks, ₹3000 crore for an irrigation dam on Gandheswari river in Bankura and an university in Jhargram in the memory of tribal scholar Pundit Raghunath Murmu.
On a two-day tour of the tribal belt of Bengal where the BJP nearly swept in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Shah arrived at Kharagpur in West Midnapore district on Sunday night.
Throughout the day, BJP workers staged agitation at several places in Bengal, including the central election office in Kolkata, opposing the fielding of some Trinamool Congress (TMC) turncoats.
“Some supporters are unhappy. This is not a major issue. We will sort it out through discussions,” said BJP state vice-president and Lok Sabha member Arjun Singh.
The Trinamool Congress attacked the BJP. Party MP Abhishek Bannerjee, who addressed a rally in West Midnapore district, alleged very few people were attending BJP rallies. “You will find more people at road construction sites or at tea stalls in the morning,” he said.