Amit Shah unable to attend, BJP goes ahead with Parivartan Yatra launch in poll-bound Chhattisgarh
The BJP on Tuesday rolled out 'Parivartan Yatra' from tribal-dominated Dantewada in Chhattisgarh eyeing a comeback in the upcoming assembly polls, due later this year.
The Yatra was scheduled to be launched by Union Home Minister Amit Shah but his visit was cancelled at the last moment due to some urgent reason, a party leader said.
In the absence of Shah, BJP's Chhattisgarh incharge Om Mathur flagged off the yatra after performing rituals at the famous Maa Danteshwari temple in Dantewada town.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has planned two Parivartan yatras in poll-bound Chhattisgarh. BJP chief JP Nadda will launch the second Yatra from Jashpur on September 15.
The two yatras, which will see 84 public meetings, 85 ''swagat sabhas'' (welcome gatherings) and seven road shows, will culminate in Bilaspur on the same day after covering a distance of 2,989 km across 87 out of the total 90 assembly constituencies.
After offering rituals at Danteshwari temple, Mathur, Chhattisgarh BJP chief Arun Sao, and other senior leaders addressed a public rally at the High School ground here before flagging off the Yatra.
Speaking at the rally, former chief minister Raman Singh hit out at the Congress government in Chhattisgarh and claimed it has indulged in corruption and looting people for the last five years.
“The Bhupesh Baghel government has done nothing except corruption in the last five years. We are not saying this but the Enforcement Directorate's investigation has revealed this. This government has committed scams in rice, coal, liquor, DMF, Gauthan etc.,” Singh alleged.
He said the Parivartan Yatra is aimed at uprooting the ''corrupt and incompetent'' Congress government and asserted that BJP would emerge victorious once again in the upcoming assembly polls.
Sao, Raman Singh and opposition leader Narayan Chandel boarded the Parivartan Yatra bus which was flagged off at the function. They waved hands at the crowd from the hydraulic lift of the bus as it hit the Dantewada streets.
Another bus followed with senior leaders, including Brijmohan Agrawal and Shivratan Sharma, seen standing on the platform on its top.
The main bus for the Yatra is the same high-tech vehicle used by the BJP for its 'Vikas Yatra' in Chhattisgarh ahead of the 2018 assembly elections when the party was in power, a member of the state BJP's communication wing said.
Later talking to reporters, Mathur said the BJP will raise public awareness about ''corruption'' committed by the Baghel government. ''Besides, people will be apprised about public welfare schemes of the Narendra Modi government,'' he added.
PM Modi is expected to attend the concluding function of the two yatras in Bilaspur, he added.
Queried about Amit Shah not attending the flagging-off event, Mathur said,'' Shah is the home minister. Recently G-20 meet concluded in Delhi. For some urgent reason, he (Shah) had to attend a meeting (in Delhi)''.
He added Shah would join the Parivartan Yatra during its itinerary.
Notably, after the cancellation of Shah's visit, BJP posted pictures of Union minister Smriti Irani on social media stating she would join the Yatra launch in Dantewada but later withdrew these posts.
When asked about this, Mathur said Irani's visit to Dantewada was cancelled as her flight landed late in Jagdalpur.
A BJP leader from Jagdalpur said Irani was scheduled to go to Dantewada in a chopper but it could not take off due to bad weather, following which she returned to Delhi in a chartered aircraft.
In the 2018 assembly polls, the Congress handed a crushing defeat to BJP, which was in power for 15 years under Raman Singh. The Congress won 68 assembly seats and the BJP got 15.
Last month, the BJP released its first list of candidates for 21 seats which it had ceded to Congress earlier even though the formal schedule of the assembly elections is yet to be announced.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)