Union Home Minister and top Bharatiya Janata Party leader Amit Shah arrived in Kolkata on Wednesday night on a two-day visit to take stock of the party's organisation ahead of the 2021 assembly polls in West Bengal, party sources said.
Shah, who was accompanied by BJP national vice-president Mukul Roy, national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargya, was greeted with slogans of 'Amit Shah zindabad', 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' by party workers at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata.
'I will arrive in West Bengal today on a two-day visit. I look forward to exchanging views with the functionaries of BJP West Bengal unit, the people of West Bengal, friends in the media and representatives of various communities,' Shah said in a tweet in Bengali earlier on Wednesday.
Shah met the family members of a BJP worker allegedly killed in judicial custody last month.
Madan Ghorai was arrested in Patashpur in Purba Medinipur district on September 26 in connection with a kidnapping case. He died on October 13.
Accompanied by state BJP president Dilip Ghosh and senior BJP leaders, the family members of Ghorai met Shah at the Kolkata airport.
They complained about the threats they were receiving and the apathy of the state government towards the family after they demanded a second autopsy of Ghorai, the BJP said.
'Met with the family of our martyred Booth Vice President Madan Ghorai in Kolkata. I bow to his braveheart family. @BJP4India will always remain indebted to our karyakartas who have given their supreme sacrifice while fighting against atrocities and injustice in West Bengal,' Shah said in a tweet after meeting the family.
This is Shah's first visit to the state since the COVID-19 outbreak. He had last visited the state on March 1.
He will visit Bankura on November 5 and hold an organisational meeting with BJP leaders there and will meet members of various communities of the tribal Jangalmahal area.
Bankura district is part of the Jangalmahal area and BJP had made deep inroads in adjoining Purulia, West Midnapore and Jhargram districts by bagging majority of the parliamentary seats there in the 2019 polls.
He is also scheduled to have lunch at the home of a party activist from a scheduled tribe in the afternoon.
On November 6, he will visit the famed Dakineshwar Kali Temple in the city in the morning and the residence of classical singer Ajoy Chakraborty.
In the afternoon he is scheduled to have lunch at the residence of a party activist belonging to the Matua community, which has a sizeable presence in at least six parliamentary constituencies of the state.
He will also hold a meeting with party functionaries in Kolkata.
The home minister's visit assumes significance with West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar criticising the 'worsening' law and order situation in the state.
Dhankhar had met Shah in New Delhi last week and discussed the 'state of affairs and affairs of the state'.
State BJP leaders have been demanding imposition of President's Rule in Bengal citing 'breakdown of the rule of law'.
Shah's visit will take place days after the major organisational change in the state BJP.
Its general secretary (organisation) Subrata Chattopadhyay was removed and his deputy Amitava Chakraborty was elevated to the post by the central leadership.
The 2021 Bengal assembly polls, due in April-May, has assumed significance for the BJP as it will try to cash in on its growing prominence in state politics, while Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will seek to return to power for the third straight time.
The saffron party after having a limited presence in the politically polarised state for decades has emerged as the main rival of the TMC by winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in the 2019 general election.
With the BJP's strength increasing in the state in the last few years, where it has never been in power, its leaders are upbeat that the party will end the Trinamool Congress's 10-year-long rule.