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Sushma rally in run-up to rural polls

Calcutta, Nov 25: BJP leader Sushma Swaraj will address a rally in Calcutta on November 30 to gear up the organisation for the panchayat polls due next year, the state unit said today.

“Sushmaji has agreed to take time off her busy schedule during the Parliament session and address a rally at Rani Rashmoni Road on November 30,” state BJP president Rahul Sinha said this afternoon.

He said the programme would focus on chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s “inept handling of the administration” and the “scam-tainted Congress” at the Centre.

A BJP national executive member said tonight from Delhi that the central leadership would “concentrate on refurbishing the organisation in Bengal” in the run-up to the rural polls.

He said the party would “cash in” on the BJP’s “impressive” performance in last month’s Jangipur bypoll.

The BJP had bagged 85,867 votes, finishing third in the October 10 bypoll. “From 4.4 per cent in the 2011 Assembly polls in Jangipur, our vote share jumped to 10.6 per cent in the bypoll. A public rally in the heart of Calcutta will help us showcase our achievement to people across the state,” Sinha said.

State BJP leaders said those “disillusioned” with the “inefficiency” of the ruling Trinamul Congress, the “demoralised” Opposition Left and the “scam-tainted” Congress had “started searching for another option and are gradually turning to us”.

“Our membership has phenomenally increased ever since Mamata Banerjee assumed office as chief minister in May 2011. Our membership has risen to 4.5 lakh from 1.5 lakh in Bengal in the past 18 months,” Sinha said.

State RSS chief Atul Kumar Biswas said people of different age-groups were joining the outfit’s daily shakhas as Swayam Sevaks in villages across the state. “We had around 1,000 shakhas in the state a few years ago. But now, the number has increased to nearly 1,500,” he said.

Biswas said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat would address a meeting at Mahajati Sadan in Calcutta on December 11. “Bhagwatji is expected to review the extent of work done by state RSS leaders. He will put up at Keshav Bhavan, our city headquarters,” he said.

At a rally in Dum Dum yesterday, CPM politburo member and former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya had said the BJP “has gained these days”, which was “not possible” during the Left rule.