Hours before TMC and BJP workers waged a pitched battle on the streets of Kolkata, BJP president Amit Shah Tuesday led a 4-km-long roadshow through the city in a show of strength before the last phase of polling on May 19.
Followed by a sea of workers shouting “Jai Shri Ram” and “Narendra Modi zindabad”, the BJP took over the streets in Central Kolkata for Shah’s first ever roadshow that began at around 4.30 pm from Esplanade moving slowly towards Swami Vivekananda’s ancestral house on Vivekananda Road in North Kolkata.
For the duration of the roadshow, Shah stood atop a decorated truck flanked by his party’s candidates for Kolkata North and Kolkata South, Rahul Sinha and Chandra Kumar Bose respectively and was seen waving at the crowds on both sides of the road. Behind him, BJP supporters, including artistes dressed as Lord Ram, Hanuman and other characters from the Ramayana, followed, chanting slogans and showering flower petals. At the convoy’s van were tableaux highlighting the culture of various parts of the state and the country.
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Saying he was impressed by the massive turnout, Shah predicted the BJP will win more than 23 seats in West Bengal. “The presence of lakhs of people is an indication that the people of Bengal have made their mind to see Narendra Modi as their next Prime Minister. Mamata ji says we bring outsiders here. Are these people outsiders? It is evident from this road show that we will win more than 23 seats from Bengal,” he said.
Earlier, posters of Shah and Modi across the city were removed by police. “They violated the poll code by not taking permission to put up those posters 24 hours prior to the roadshow. Hence, they were taken down in front of Election Commission officials,” said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.
Denying the allegation, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said, “We have told the West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer that there is a norm to put up posters and flexes before a political rally or roadshow which are taken down once the programme is over. But why were they removed before the road show? The police with the help of TMC goons pulled them down in the name of EC norm. We have put them up again.”