In Bengal for two days, BJP chief Amit Shah had a message for its fiery Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee: Handle Bengal first. Speaking at a meeting in Purulia -- once the heart of the state's Maoist zone -- the BJP chief launched an all-out attack on the two-time Chief Minister's government. Bengal, he pointed out, was given a sweet deal by the NDA government in terms of financial packages, still parts of the state does not have clean drinking water or electricity.
"BJP distributes rice at Rs 2 a kg. Do the people in Purulia get it? Mamata is busy stitching a grand coalition. We are not opposed to it, but handle West Bengal first," the BJP chief said.
Purulia is also the state where two BJP workers died over the last month in suspicious circumstances. Trilochan Mahato, 18, was found hanging from a tree, with a note pinned to his shirt. "This is for doing BJP politics from age 18. Been trying to kill you since the vote. Failed. Today you are dead." On Saturday, the police made the first arrest in the cases.
"More than 65 BJP workers were killed in the violence in Bengal and more than 1,341 workers were injured," Mr Shah said, adding that only the "thugs" of the TMC are thriving in the state. In the evening, he met the families of the men.
Mr Shah, whose party has two parliamentary seats in Bengal, has set an ambitious target for his local leaders. He wants at least 22 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state - and there is no question of any understanding with Ms Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, which happens to be a pet allegation by the state leaders of the opposition Congress and the Left Front.
State BJP chief Dilip Ghosh is confident. "Amit Shah has set us a minimum 22 as the target. We will get many more," he told reporters. The state BJP's confidence is likely to stem from the recent panchayat poll elections. The party has outstripped the Left Front to become the main opposition in the state.
The gap in BJP-TMC vote share is huge, but the BJP numbers are rising with every election.
In the evening, senior Trinamool leader Partha Chatterjee said Amit Shah should pay more attention to his party's government at the Centre and states where assembly polls are due, instead of "looking at" West Bengal.
"There is a saying that empty vessels make the greatest sound. Amit Shah's speech in Purulia is a reflection of it," Mr Chatterjee said.