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Amit Shah in Rajasthan on daylong visit; to address BJP workers, meet prominent citizens

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah with Union Minister for Law & Justice Arjun Ram Meghwal and Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma during a BJP meeting, in Bikaner

Union Home Minister Amit Shah with Union Minister for Law & Justice Arjun Ram Meghwal and Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma during a BJP meeting, in Bikaner

Jaipur: Union Home Minister Amit Shah arrived at Rajasthan's Bikaner on Tuesday on a daylong visit to the state.

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Shah is scheduled to address a meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) state election committee in Bikaner in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

It will be followed by a party workers' meeting in Udaipur after noon and a meeting with prominent citizens in state capital Jaipur in the evening.

Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma and state BJP president C P Joshi received Shah at the Bikaner airport. From the airport, they left for the venue of the meeting.

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Shah will focus on three "clusters", comprising three Lok Sabha seats each, of Jaipur, Udaipur and Bikaner during his visit.

The BJP, which came to power in Rajasthan in December last year by winning 115 of the 200 Assembly seats, is eyeing to win all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the desert state in the general election likely to be held in April-May.

However, the BJP faced a major embarrassment when its candidate, Surendrapal Singh TT, lost the Karanpur seat in Sriganganagar district, where the election was held in January due to the death of the Congress candidate, despite the party making him a minister.

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Sriganganagar, an area dominated by farmers, falls under the Bikaner division in north Rajasthan.

Taking serious note of the party's performance in Karanpur, it is believed that Shah has started his tours to review the preparations for the Lok Sabha polls from Bikaner. The BJP's strategy also focuses on the farmers' region, which is north Rajasthan that shares its borders with Punjab and Haryana.

Shah will address the BJP workers' meeting in Udaipur, which is in south Rajasthan -- a tribal-dominated region.

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Ahead of the home minister's programme, senior Congress leader and former state minister Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya switched over to the BJP on Monday.

It is being seen as a move of the saffron party to strengthen its presence in the tribal region, particularly Banswara, Dungarpur, Pratapgarh districts and nearby areas where the Bharat Adivasi Party (BAP) is gaining in influence.

The BAP won three seats (two in Dungarpur and one in Pratapgarh districts) in the Assembly polls, which raised concerns for both the BJP and the Congress.

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By bringing an influential leader into its fold, the BJP is not only looking to strengthen its presence, but also weaken the Congress and the BAP in the region.

Shah's meeting in Udaipur is expected to give a message for the tribal region.

The former BJP chief will address a meeting of intellectuals in Jaipur in the evening, before leaving for Delhi.

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