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Featured Image: Amit Shah poses with other BJP leaders under the statue of Swami Vivekananda at his Simla Street house in Kolkata on Monday. 

By A Newsman

Kolkata, 11 September: BJP president Amit Shah has set a target for the party leaders in Bengal to increase the number of members in the state to 1.5-crore before the panchayat polls slated for early next year.

Addressing a close-door meeting with BJP state secretariat members, district presidents and general secretaries at ICCR Auditorium on Ho Chi Minh Sarani in central Kolkata during the day, Shah asked them heard to meet the membership target, party sources said.

Right now, according to BJP, the party has 40-lakh members in Bengal. Taking it to 1.5-crore means the addition of 1.1-crore members over the next eight months, considering that the panchayat polls are likely to be held in April next year. Bengal has a population of about 9.13-crore.

Shah, the sources said, has advised the state leadership to make use of the existing 40-lakh members to induct new members into the party. He has asked them not to target leaders of other parties but their workers at the field.

The saffron party’s national president also told the state leaders that he was in Kolkata not hear about where Trinamool has beaten up BJP workers. Rather he wants to know whether there been any resistance, a source quoted him as saying. Shah told the state leadership that he will visit Bengal again in January to take stock of the progress on membership drive.

During the day the BJP president paid a visit to Swami Vivekananda’s ancestral house at Simla Street in north Kolkata on the occasion of 125th anniversary of Swamiji’s Chicago Speech.

“Swami Vivekanand ji is a youth icon, an ideologue whose teachings continue to inspire generations after generations,” tweeted Shah, who is on a three-day tour of Kolkata.