With eye on WB polls, BJP puts central leaders in charge of organisational ZONES

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Kolkata, Nov 17 (PTI) With an eye on West Bengal poll due in April-May 2021, the BJP Tuesday has divided the state into five organisational zones and put central BJP leaders in charge of them, party sources said.

Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah is likely to visit the state yet again later this month to take stock of the party organisation ahead of the state polls, the sources said.

Senior BJP leaders Sunil Deodhar, Vinod Tawde, Dushyant Gautam, Harish Dwivedi and Vinod Sonkar have been handpicked by the party top brass to head the five organisational zones in the state.

The five organisational zones are North Bengal, Rarh Banga (south-western districts), Nabadwip, Midnapore and Kolkata, the sources said.

The decision was announced at a high-level organisational meeting held in Kolkata in the presence of BJP national general secretary (organisation) B L Santosh and national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.

BJP national vice-president Mukul Roy and state president Dilip Ghosh were also present at the meeting, the sources said.

'These five leaders will talk to office-bearers, party leaders and cadres on organisational issues in their respective zones,' Ghosh told newsmen after the meeting.

Deodhar, who was one of the prime architects of the party's victory in Tripura two years ago, has been given the charge of Midnapore zone, a region where the party has made deep inroads in the last Lok Sabha polls. The region is mainly populated by tribal and backward communities.

Dushyant Gautam, BJP national general secretary, will be in-charge of Kolkata region. National secretary Harish Dwivedi and Vinod Sonkar have been put in charge of north Bengal and Rarh Banga regions respectively.

The saffron party has made deep inroads in north Bengal, once considered a Congress bastion and then of the TMC, bagging seven out of the eight Lok Sabha seats in the region in 2019 general election.

North Bengal, which comprises eight districts, accounts for 54 of the total 294 assembly seats.

BJP national secretary Vinod Tawde has been assigned to look after the Nawadwip region. Amit Malviya, who has been made co-incharge of the state, will also look after the social media campaign of the party.

According to state BJP sources, the decision to bring in so many senior leaders in the state proves that Bengal will be the prime focus of the BJP.

'Amit Shah Ji is likely to visit later this month.

This time he will be visiting north Bengal. The dates are yet to be finalised,' a senior state BJP leader said.

Shah had paid a two-day visit to the state from November 5 to take stock of the party's organisation.

Meanwhile, former CPI(M) councillor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) area Rinku Naskar Tuesday joined the BJP during the day.

After having a limited presence in the politically polarised state for decades, BJP has emerged as the main rival of the ruling Trinamool Congress after winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in the 2019 general election.

With BJP's strength increasing in the state in the last few years, party leaders have exuded confidence that it will be able to end Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's 10-year rule in the 2021 assembly election. PTI PNT KK KK KK