Kolkata: Union Home Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Shah reached Kolkata at around 1 AM on Saturday (December 19) for his two-day visit to the state. He was welcomed at Kolkata airport by several BJP leaders including Kailash Vijayvargiya and Dilip Ghosh.
His visit comes at a time when several MLAs from the ruling Trinamool Congress have resigned from the party and the state Assembly in a setback to Mamata Banerjee ahead of 2021 Assembly polls.
Dissident Trinamool Congress heavyweight leader Suvendu Adhikari on Saturday joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s mega rally in West Bengal's Midnapore in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Adhikari joined the podium along with Shah at Midnapore College Ground. He was received by Union minister of state for Woman and Child Development Debasree Choudhuri.
The ex-Nandigram legislator was seen sitting by the side of Shah on the dais.
"I welcome Suvendu in the BJP. He has been my long-time party colleague. People of Bengal want to listen to him. BJP will get a new political dimension in Bengal if Suvendu joins the saffron brigade," said Mukul Roy at the mega rally.
Home Minister Amit Shah also visited the birthplace of Swami Vivekananda in north Kolkata on Saturday morning and said that the ideals of the 19th-century icon are more relevant in the present-day world.
Shah, who is on a two-day visit to West Bengal, paid tribute to Swami Vivekananda, hailing him for taking Indian's culture and ethos to the world.
"Swami Vivekananda took India's culture, vision and ethos to the world. He bridged the gap between spirituality and modernity. After visiting his birthplace, I feel his ideals are still relevant in the present-day world. Rather, his ideals are more needed in the present times," he told reporters.
The path shown by Swami Vivekananda will not only lead India but the entire world on the road to prosperity, Shah said.
He said Vivekananda gave a call for worshipping the nation as 'Bharatmata' in his Chicago address.
"Eventually the country got freedom," Shah said, describing Vivekananda as one of the most dynamic spiritual leaders of the country who familiarised the world with the philosophy of India.
Amid beats of the dhaak, Shah arrived at Vivekananda's ancestral home in Simla Street that has been turned into a museum. Members of the BJP women's wing, in traditional white saree with red borders, welcomed him by showering flower petals.
After garlanding the statue of Swami Vivekananda outside the complex, Shah was shown the articles used by him. The BJP leader also interacted with the monks.
He is also scheduled to address a public rally in Medinipur. The Belijuri village in Paschim Medinipur district was prepared for the Home Minister's visit since early this morning.
Amit Shah is also scheduled to meet a farmer family and have lunch with them.
On the second day of his trip, Shah will visit Vishwa Bharti University at Shantiniketan in Birbhum district, where he will pay tribute to Rabindranath Tagore, followed by an interaction with media.
The minister is also scheduled to visit Shyambati in Birbhum, where he will have lunch with the family of a Baul singer. Later he will hold a roadshow in Bolpur from hanuman mandir on Stadium Road to Bolpur Circle.
Shah is expected to conclude the visit with a press conference at Mohor Kutir in Birbhum.
(With inputs from agencies)