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4 trains to ferry BJP Brigade supporters

Dilip Ghosh said the trains would ferry supporters from Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram, West Midnapore, Murshidabad and Birbhum

By Abhijeet Chatterjee in Jhargram(WestMidnapore)
  • Published 3.04.19, 2:14 AM
  • Updated 3.04.19, 2:14 AM
  • a min read
A banner in Bankura asking BJP supporters to attend Modi’s rally in Calcutta. Rupesh Khan

The BJP has hired four trains with 16 general compartments each to ferry supporters from south Bengal districts to Calcutta on Wednesday for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at the Brigade Parade Grounds, party leaders said.

BJP state unit chief Dilip Ghosh said the trains would ferry supporters from Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram, West Midnapore, Murshidabad and Birbhum. “We have hired the four trains in the absence of adequate number of vehicles to ferry supporters to Modiji’s Brigade rally. It is not possible to ferry such huge numbers only in cars, buses and trucks,” said Ghosh.

“We are looking at 10,000 plus supporters in each train. So the four trains ought to bring at least 40,000 to Calcutta,” he added.

Modi will start his Bengal campaign on Wednesday with a rally in Siliguri and Calcutta.

The Brigade event was originally scheduled days after Mamata Banerjee’s mammoth rally on January 19 but was deferred numerous times since.

According to officials of South Eastern Railway, from where the BJP has rented two trains, such hiring is not unusual for political parties. “Anybody can hire trains for personal or political use, by paying the rent to the railways. It is not new nor illegal,” said a rail official.

Sanjay Ghosh, chief public relations officer of South Eastern Railway, said the BJP hired the trains through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation.

Sources in the BJP said the state unit had set a turnout target of over 4 lakh for the local leadership in the Jungle Mahal region and its neighbouring districts.

BJP sources said the party has hired a total of over 2,500 buses and 1,500 four-wheelers in the six districts to ferry the supporters. “We are expecting a turnout of around one lakh from Purulia alone,” said Vidyasagar Chakraborty, the BJP’s Purulia unit chief.

From Bankura and Jhargram, the party will ferry around 50,000 and 65,000 supporters, respectively.

“We have hired around 400 buses and 200 four-wheelers, besides the trains, to send our supporters to Calcutta,” said BJP Jhargram chief Sukhamoy Sathpati.