The BJP has hired seven trains to bring its party members and supporters from different parts of West Bengal to join ‘Nabanna Abhijan’ (march to secretariat) on September 13 – a rally to be taken out in protest against the alleged corrupt practices of the TMC government.
Senior BJP leader and former state president of the party, Rahul Sinha, told PTI on Monday that all trains have either left from or would be leaving for their destinations in a few hours’ time.
He also claimed that the TMC-run administration was “trying to create hurdles in the way” of supporters willing to come to the city to join the rally.
“Our supporters were prevented from boarding a special train from Alipurduar to Sealdah on Monday evening and even lathi-charged by state police. The train, however, left later with our activists and supporters,” Mr Sinha said.
Seven trains — three from north Bengal and four from south — will reach Sealdah and Santragachhi respectively, “overcoming opposition from the police and ruling party cadres”, the BJP leader said. No BJP leader, when approached, disclosed the amount spent in hiring the trains.
TMC mouthpiece ‘Jago Bangla’ has claimed Rs 2.84 crore has been spent in hiring the trains, questioning the source of such funds.
Joy Prakash Majumdar, a spokesperson of the ruling party, said, “The BJP has taken crores of rupees from businessmen who escaped the country, and is probably using that money for its programmes. To my knowledge, the BJP spent around Rs 2,000 crore in 2021 assembly polls.” Wondering if the headcount for the rally would cross 10,000, Mr Majumdar said, “Every train has 11 bogies and 700-800 seats. That means seven trains can bring 5,000-5,500 people. The BJP is spending Rs 3,000-4,000 for everyone boarding the special train.” This money could have been used to help people financially in the post-COVID situation, he stated.
The TMC leader also said that chances are there “the saffron camp may try to foment trouble during the rally to be in the news”, knowing well that the turnout won’t be high.
Rebuffing the TMC claims, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said the ruling party was making “wild claims” as it was “scared” of Nabanna Abhijan, which has generated interest among people.
“Unlike the TMC, we follow standard procedures for such programmes. The BJP believes in ethics and accountability. We don’t support the idea of encouraging our activists-supporters to enjoy a free ride in public transport, inconveniencing general commuters,” Mr Majumdar added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)