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Modi April visit to Siliguri

Calcutta, March 30: Narendra Modi is likely to address a rally in Siliguri in the first half of April in favour of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-backed BJP candidate for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat S.S. Ahluwalia, BJP sources said today.

Darjeeling, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri will vote on April 17.

“Modiji’s office confirmed to me today about his arrival in Siliguri on April 12 for a campaign meeting in favour of my candidature,” Ahluwalia told The Telegraph over phone from Sukna where he held a meeting today.

Although Ahluwalia mentioned April 12 as the date, some party sources in Siliguri said Modi could address the meeting on April 10.

Ahluwalia added that the venue of the meeting would be finalised in a day or two after a consultation with party leaders in north Bengal.

Modi, however, has no plans to visit Calcutta this time, although state party leaders are trying so that he addresses at least two more meetings in the city and its neighbourhood next month. The BJP prime ministerial nominee had addressed a public rally at the Brigade Parade Ground here on February 5 when magician P.C. Sarkar Junior and music composer Bappi Lahiri formally joined the party.

“We are trying to get confirmation from Modiji for at least two more campaign meetings in Calcutta and its neighbourhood for our party nominees in South Bengal districts,” state BJP president Rahul Sinha said today.

The BJP leadership, that has fielded candidates for all 42 seats across Bengal, felt that campaign meetings with Modi as the main speaker were expected to stand in good stead for party nominees in the run up to the polls. “Since Modi-wave is sweeping across the country, the more we can get him for Bengal, the better (it is) for us,” Sinha said.

Ahluwalia also felt that Modi’s participation in the campaign days before the polls in the hills might give him an edge over his rivals in the four-cornered contest. “Modiji’s presence in Siliguri would give an additional dimension to our poll campaign,” he said.

While the Trinamul Congress has fielded former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia for the Darjeeling seat, the Left has nominated former MP Ananda Pathak’s son Saman for the seat and Sujoy Ghatak is the Congress candidate.

Newly appointed BJP national spokesperson M.J. Akbar today said the main focus would be on economic growth if a Modi led NDA government comes to power at the Centre.

“The central theme of governance for the BJP-led NDA government is going to be economic growth. For us, good governance means rising economy and peace in the country,” he said.