Continuing with his "lunch-dinner diplomacy", BJP President Amit Shah enjoyed food with a tribal family at Devaliya village in tribal-dominated Chhota Udepur district in Gujarat. The exercise was aimed at widening the party's base among the tribal population.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief started his lunch-dinner diplomacy to connect with the masses in West Bengal where he had lunch with a Dalit family, then he visited Varanasi and now he is in Gujarat.
In Devaliya village of Chhota Udepur, he had dinner on Tuesday night with a local BJP party worker, Popatbhai Rathwa.
The VIP presence at his place turned into a blessing for the tribal party worker, as other partymen helped the Rathwa family put basic infrastructure in place, with the family getting a new toilet facility, a wash basin, an LPG stove and a couple of coolers.
This show of help was perhaps to make the environs comfortable for the BJP chief and entourage of VIPs, including BJP's state incharge Bhupendra Yadav, state party chief Jitu Vaghani, party general secretaries, state ministers, MPs and other party functionaries, who joined Shah.
Shah's presence in this Congress-dominated region seems to be significant as five of the six taluka panchayats as well as the district panchayat of Chhota Udepur are ruled by the Congress. Even in the last parliamentary polls, when the BJP had won all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, it was a close contest in Chhota Udepur. The legislator from the district comes from the Congress.
The BJP is currently facing trouble from several other communities besides the socially, politically and economically powerful Patidaars, like the Dalits who have risen after the public flogging of Dalit youths by a self-styled cow protection group at Una in Saurashtra.
"While Gujarat remains a strong fortress for the BJP, there was a need to further strengthen its presence," said Shah, addressing the newly-inducted booth workers in Devalia village.
He also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership and said as the Chief Minister, he had helped win around 120 seats, and now with him as the Prime Minister, the party can look to bag at least 150 of the 182 assembly seats in the state.
On a three-day visit to the state, Shah is expected to continue his booth-level programmes in the state and would visit another tribal district of Sabarkantha.