Mamata changes schedule to take on Modi in BengalLast updated on Apr 03, 2019, 01:21 pm
Not being the one to back down from an election battleground, Trinamool matriarch and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee changed her schedule to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in her state on Wednesday.
PM Modi will address two rallies in Bengal, first in North Bengal's Siliguri and second in Brigade Ground of Kolkata.
And Banerjee is hoping to have the last word.
Venues of PM Modi's rallies hold significance
There's a reason why Siliguri was chosen for PM Modi's first address in Bengal. Cooch Behar and Alipurduar, two important seats of North Bengal, will vote on April 11.
The venue of PM Modi's second rally is Brigade Ground where Opposition leaders gathered in January to slam the Centre.
The rally organized by Trinamool was meant to show the strength of united Opposition.
In Arunachal Pradesh, PM Modi slammed Congress' manifesto
PM Modi flew to Arunachal Pradesh for the campaign and will then head towards Bengal. In the state, PM Modi said he would change India's Northeast and blasted Congress' manifesto, which was released on Tuesday.
"It is not ghoshnapatra (manifesto) but a dhakosla-patra (hypocritical document)," PM Modi said.
He added the ensuing election is between those who can deliver and those who are corrupt.
Interestingly, BJP has a come long way in Bengal
After Arunachal, all eyes are now set on PM Modi's rally in Bengal. Though the saffron party has come a long way since being a minor player in the state's politics, it faces a staunch competition from Trinamool.
Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha seats and BJP President Amit Shah said he wouldn't be happy if the party fails to scoop less than 23 seats.
Taking on Trinamool won't be easy for BJP
In the last assembly and panchayat polls, BJP's vote-share increased, testifying that the party has managed to make inroads there. Similarly, Trinamool also benefited from the loss in Congress and Left's vote-share.
In 2016 assembly polls, BJP won 10.16% votes and three seats. Whereas, Trinamool won 211 seats in the 294-member assembly. It received 44.91% votes.
Naturally, BJP's task won't be easy.
War of words
Banerjee's rally will start after PM Modi's address ends
While BJP is hoping the turnout in PM Modi's rallies translates to votes, Trinamool pulled out a card.
Banerjee was supposed to start her campaign on Thursday, April 4, from Dinhata, but the party changed plans. She will now address crowd around 3 PM, shortly after PM Modi's rally in Siliguri ends.
Interestingly, Banerjee had dared PM Modi for presidential-style debate on news channels.
BJP claimed Banerjee's rally won't find attendees
Meanwhile, Derek O'Brien said it wasn't about having last or first words. "Nobody has tweaked any programme. This is an election season. She is our star campaigner and she is in demand," he added.
BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh claimed Banerjee's rally won't find any takers. "Both PM and CM will be in North Bengal, but who would go to her programme," he asked.