BJP national president Amit Shah on Wednesday accused the Congress of deliberately promoting the first two stanzas of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Vande Mataram to appease minorities and claimed this was mainly responsible for Partition.

“Many people blamed British and Khilafat movement for the country’s partition but it was actually Congress’ minority appeasement politics that was reflected in its approach to Vande Mataram,” he said during his speech to mark the 180th birth anniversary of writer and poet Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay.

Mr Shah said that Bankim Chandra was a national poet and writer and the freedom movement got a boost from his Anandamath and the poem Vande Mataram, but he was ignored by the Congress. Mr Shah reached the city on Wednesday on a two-day trip around 1 p.m. in a special chartered flight.

Mr Shah was scheduled to reach the NSCBI airport at 11 a.m. but he arrived two hours late. Hundreds of BJP supporters were waiting at the airport since morning. Senior BJP leaders, including Dilip Ghosh, Rahul Sinha, Locket Chatterjee and Union minister Babul Supriyo were present at the airport to welcome Mr Shah.

It has been learnt that Mr Shah had set a target of winning 22 Parliamentary seats in Bengal, but the good performance by the saffron party in the recently held panchayat polls, where it stood second, outperforming CPI (M) and Congress, buoyed the state unit to target 26 seats.

During the meeting of the BJP’s election management team, Mr Shah said that the state BJP has to cover 35 per cent of booths in campaigning within three months. He also emphasised on expanding the organisation rapidly in the minority areas.

BJP president Dilip Ghosh told the media at the NSCBI airport that the Trinamul Congress considers the BJP as the biggest threat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and that it will pose the biggest challenge, therefore their cadres are attacking the BJP supporters.

Mr Ghosh was accompanying Mr Shah at the airport.

Mr Shah refused to make any comment at the airport and drove straight to Port Trust guest house accompanied by Mr Mukul Roy and Mr Babul Supriyo.

Mr Shah will leave the state tomorrow from Kaji Nazrul Islam airport in Durgapur by the same chartered flight. Mr Shah said that BJP has to secure Parliamentary seats from both north and south Bengal.

He also said during the IT cell meeting of the BJP at Howrah Sarat Sadan that West Bengal became a riot- prone state because of chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s minority appeasement politics. He also said that the state development work has been stalled due to the syndicate culture of the TMC.

Mr Shah also ridiculed chief minister Mamata Banerjee’ desire to form a federal front and said that a false campaign has been started that the TMC and the BJP have a hidden understanding.

He asked the BJP leaders during the closed door meeting at KOPT guest house to launch a massive campaign against the misrule of the TMC in the state before the Lok Sabha election. Social media should be used as a tool to combat the TMC government in the state and propagate about the pro-people policies of the Modi government, he told workers.