May 5, 2017
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Mission Tripura on mind, Amit Shah to visit state

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Buoyant by its success in making inroads in the Left Front-ruled Tripura in last year’s by-elections, BJP president Amit Shah will undertake a two-day visit to the state on Saturday and is expected to prepare a road map for winning the state in the elections scheduled early next year.

A party leader said that while pushing its development plank, the BJP will adopt its strategy of “breaking and demoralising opponents” in Tripura as well. “The state is significant for the BJP because of our ideological battle with the Communists and also for our expansion plan in the Northeast,” the leader said.

Shah is expected to reach Agartala in the morning and is scheduled to hold a series of meetings with different party organisations, besides holding a press conference in the state capital.

On Sunday, he is slated to address a “parivartan sankalp rally” at Kumarghat, about 150 km from Agartala. “We are expecting a turnout of 40,000 there,” state BJP president Biplab Kumar Deb told.

Shah will follow up the Kumarghat rally with a meeting with leading intellectuals, academics, social workers, cultural and sports personalities and spiritual leaders before returning to Delhi.

On Saturday, Deb said, the party’s state unit will organise a 5-km road show from the airport to the city to welcome Shah. “We are expecting a turnout of at least 10,000 people — a huge number in a small state like Tripura,”

Shah had last visited Tripura on April 27, 2015.

BJP leaders claimed that the lack of development under the Left Front government of Manik Sarkar has prepared a “fertile ground” for the BJP to push its campaign in the border state, which is surrounded on three sides by Bangladesh.

“The BJP’s growth in the state has been amazing,” BJP leader Anil Baluni said. “We had lost deposits in 47 of 50 constituencies we had contested in 2013 (Assembly polls). But in all elections held after 2014, the BJP finished in second, replacing the Congress (as main opposition in the state).”

“From just 15,000 primary members in 2014, we now have 21 lakh members,” he added.

Even the Trinamool Congress, which had managed to make impressive inroads in Tripura, has been weakened, he said.

“Days after the BJP formed the government in Manipur, almost the entire unit of the TMC joined us,” a BJP leader said. “We are getting a good response even from the Left camp — more than 5,000 Communist cadres have joined the BJP already.”

BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, secretary (Northeast) Ajay Jamwal, the party’s Tripura in-charge Sunil Deodhar and Minister of State for Health Faggan Singh Kulaste are among the party leaders accompanying Shah, Deb said.

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