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In continuation of his blitzkrieg campaigning, PM Narendra Modi will be holding rallies across three states doing four events on Wednesday.
He will be taking on West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee by holding mega-rallies in the state's Siliguri and Kolkata as well as in Arunachal Pradesh's Pasighat and Maharashtra's Gondia.
The battle of Bengal is all set to heat up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trinamool Congress president both kickstarting their campaign in the state that sends third largest number of Lok Sabha members to Parliament.
West Bengal has a total of 42 Lok Sabha seats, the third largest number after Uttar Pradesh's 80 and Maharashtra 48.
While Modi will address a rally at Siliguri, Banerjee will hold her first public meeting for the general elections in the state at Dinhata, both in North Bengal.
Political circles are agog that a war of words is on the cards with Mamata Banerjee deciding to hold her public rally on the same day the Prime Minister will commence his campaign in the state.
Banerjee, who was earlier scheduled to begin her campaign meetings on April 4 in North Bengal, has preponed it by a day to address the rally at Dinhata in Coochbehar constituency, which goes to polls in the first phase.
After a good performance in last year rural polls and also in a few bypolls, the BJP has pipped CPI(M) as well Congress to emerge as main challenger to TMC in Bengal.
The BJP president Amit Shah has set an ambitious target of winning 23 seats in the state.
Mamata Banerjee popularly called "Didi", who has been playing an important role in bringing together anti-BJP parties on one platform and whose party see a potential PM candidate in her, is sparing no effort to stop saffron party increase its footprint in the state.
"The Chief Minister will address the rally at Dinhata on Wednesday at 3.00 pm," TMC Coochbehar district secretary Rabindranath Ghosh said. The TMC supremo's nephew and MP Abhishek Banerjee will also address two rallies in the district - one at Sitalkhuci and the other at Tufanganj on the same day, Ghosh said.
Banerjee was recently in a huge controversy after he was named in the complaint filed by Kolkata airport customs officials where they said that the Kolkata police tried intervene when they attempted to check luggage belonging to Banerjee's wife and her female companion. Banerjee's wife and her friend were found with over 2 kg gold by the customs officials.
Meanwhile, PM is scheduled to kickstart his campaign in the TMC-ruled state from Siliguri at 1.00 pm and will hold another rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata at 3.00 pm on the same day.
BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh said that apart from the Prime Minister, several other top saffron party leaders will hold rallies in the state in the run up to the seven-phase elections in West Bengal.
"How many of these leaders will she counter? She will not find time to talk about her own candidates if she tries to give answer to the addresses of all of them in her rallies," Ghosh said about speculations that Banerjee has preponed her rally by a day to take on what Modi says in his public meeting at Siliguri.
The BJP state president claimed that people in North Bengal will go to hear the Prime Minister at Siliguri. "Who will go to Dinhata?" he asked.
The distance between Dinhata and Siliguri is about 170 kms by road. Coochbehar and Alipurduars will go to polls in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 11.
Elections for the three seats of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Raiganj in North Bengal will be held in the second phase on April 18.
Siliguri is within the Darjeeling constituency, which is one of the two seats BJP won in the 2014 elections. It has, however, fielded greenhorn Raju Bista in place of its sitting MP S S Ahluwalia from the seat.
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