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PM Modi to participate in Durga Puja event in West Bengal today with eye on 2021 state polls

As West Bengal gears up for the five-day Durga Puja celebrations amid novel coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be addressing the people of the state virtually on Thursday (October 22). 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit in Bengal has made arrangements for the live streaming of PM’s address in all the 294 Assembly constituencies of the state.

PM Modi had tweeted about his participation to celebrate Durga Puja. He called Durga Puja “an auspicious occasion, which celebrates the victory of good over evil” and extended his wishes.

“Sisters and brothers of West Bengal, tomorrow, on the auspicious day of Maa Durga Pujo`s Mahashashti, I would join the Divine celebrations via video conferencing and shall also be extending my greetings to everyone. Do join the programme live,” he said.

In his tweet, PM Modi suggested he will join the festivities at 10 am and likely deliver his speech at noon. In the online event, the prime minister will inaugurate a pandal set up by BJP in Salt Lake in Kolkata. 

The BJP has made arrangements across the state for more than 25 party workers and voters to watch the address in each of the over 78,000 polling booths while adhering to social distancing norms.

Notably, the state Assembly polls are scheduled to be held in the first half of 2021. The BJP has emerged as the main challenger to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and has been exuding confidence that it will end Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s 10-year-old reign in the state.

The saffron party had won 18 seats in West Bengal against the TMC’s 22 in last year’s Lok Sabha polls and trailed the ruling party in terms of vote share by only three per cent. 

Meanwhile, the TMC has questioned the timing of the PM’s address wondering if it was a poll stunt. “He is prime minister for many years. Why is he addressing Bengal for the first time in this year’s Durga Pujas? Is it because elections are round the corner,” he said.

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