Raje to precede Modi in city

Barun Ghosh

Calcutta, March 14: Former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia will attend a programme in Calcutta tomorrow, days ahead of Narendra Modi's proposed visit here next month.

"Our Gujarat unit has confirmed to us that Modiji will arrive in Calcutta on April 9," state BJP president Rahul Sinha said tonight. "We are busy fine-tuning Modiji's programme as this will be his maiden visit to the city after becoming Gujarat chief minister for the third consecutive time," he added.

An official in the state secretariat in Gandhinagar said over phone tonight that Modi "is most likely to visit Calcutta next month with an entourage to showcase the state's achievements". Gujarat BJP president R.C. Faktu said he had "heard about Modiji's proposed visit to Calcutta".

Asked about the proposed visits of the BJP's Vasundhara and Modi, Trinamul leader and industries minister Partha Chatterjee said: "All are welcome to our state."

"I have no idea about the political agenda of either Narendra Modi or Vasundhara Raje Scindia but their visits are a pointer to the fact that Bengal is on the right path of development under the current regime," he added.

Bengal BJP chief Sinha said Modi's visit ahead of the panchayat polls would "stand us in good stead" at a time the party was struggling to consolidate its organisation after the poor show in last month's Assembly bypolls.

Vasundhara will attend an event at Vidya Mandir in south Calcutta tomorrow at the invitation of Rajasthan Parishad, a pro-BJP organisation of Rajasthanis.

Parishad president Sardul Singh Jain said: "Vasundharaji's one-point agenda for tomorrow's event is to project herself as the future chief minister of Rajasthan. She will speak to around 500 Rajasthanis who live in Calcutta but have their homes in Bikaner, Jaipur, Ajmer and other parts of Rajasthan."

Earlier in the day, she is scheduled to meet members of Ficci's women's wing in a city hotel to talk about the investment potential in her home state, where Assembly polls will be held later this year.