Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold three rallies in Bengal - one in Siliguri and one in Asansol - but there will be no rally in Kolkata, the state BJP said on Monday. The party is planning to hold 35 rallies in the state in preparation for their target list of winning 22 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address three rallies in West Bengal. On January 28 (Sunday), he will address a rally at Thakurnagar in Bongaon. On February 2, he will address a rally at Siliguri in north Bengal," state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.
The rallies will be part of the Prime Minister's mammoth 100-rally programme planned across the country to set the tone for the coming Lok Sabha elections.
PM Modi's scheduled rally at the Brigade Parade Grounds - the historic protest grounds in Kolkata -- on February 8, however, has been cancelled amid the controversy of chopper of Amit Shah. Instead, he would address a rally at Asansol - the constituency represented by party lawmaker Babul Supriyo in the Lok Sabha that day.
The BJP chief was forced to opt for a private helipad in Malda for tomorrow's rally after the state government refused permission for chopper landing at the Malda airstrip.
Coming on the heels of the state's refusal of permission for the BJP rath yatras, the matter has snowballed into a major controversy. While Mamata Banerjee's government maintains that permission was refused due to ongoing renovation work, the BJP has called it a "misuse of power".
The BJP has been at loggerheads with Ms Banerjee's Trinamool Congress in the state, where it is seen to have replaced the CPM as the main opposition party. The party, however, is yet to establish its presence In the state assembly.
Over the last months, the BJP has been focusing on a grassroots approach, starting with the panchayat elections in the state. The effort, though fell flat, with widespread violence sweeping the state. The elections were held in May after days of court battle and opposition allegations of "Trinamool terror" -- accusing the ruling party has denied.