Abhishek Banerjee, a Trinamool Congress MP, is embarking on a 2-month, 3,500 km journey across West Bengal, starting from Coochbehar in north Bengal to Kakdwip down south.
The campaign aims to reach out to the public and address their concerns, as the party faces corruption allegations and inquiries against its leaders.
With the upcoming panchayat elections posing a major challenge from the opposition, the TMC hopes that this public outreach campaign will help them retain their hold in the state.
The TMC party has been conducting ballot exercises during their outreach to determine the preferred candidate for the upcoming panchayat elections. However, the process has been marred with chaos as clashes between two groups of party supporters broke out in Gosanimari on 25 April.
This happened as Banerjee initiated the "Jana Sanjog Yatra". Similar incidents of disorder were reported in Jalpaiguri district, including a troubling event in Maynaguri block, reports The Indian Express.
TMC national general secretary, Banerjee, is making an all-out effort in connecting with the masses during the Yatra. He's planned over 250 rallies and has been doing things like clicking selfies and having lunch at a villager's house to bolster outreach.
“Due to the non-implementation of MGNREGS, more than 20 lakh people are jobless. I went to the Union Minister concerned in Delhi along with party MPs over the issue but he did not meet,” he alleged at a rally, as per the TIE report.
“I have left home to make this campaign successful. I will not go to Kolkata even for a day for 60 days at a stretch. I am doing all this so that the right set of public representatives is identified. You will decide your leader,” he said.
Banerjee emphasised that only those who have worked for the party on the ground and have been selected by party workers will contest in the panchayat election.
He also criticised the BJP, stating “Half of the 80 village panchayats (in Jalpaiguri) went to the BJP in the last rural body elections. We don’t believe in discrimination like the Modi government, which is depriving West Bengal of its dues.”
“The BJP believes in separatism and the balkanisation of the region (north Bengal) to serve its narrow interests and not for development. However, the separate statehood agenda won’t be realised and it has also not undertaken any development initiatives,” he added.
According to the report, Banerjee, commenting on last week's violent episode in Uttar Dinajpur, said: “I will suggest to the BJP that it should work. Their behaviour shows they have no political work.
"We are talking to people and hearing their grievances. Someone said he doesn’t have a house, someone wants proper roads or a proper water supply. I will tell them (BJP) if not for 60 days, at least be on the road with people for two to three days.”
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