RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will address a public programme at Shahid Minar ground in Kolkata to commemorate Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's birth anniversary celebrations on January 23.
According to a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) official, Bhagwat will visit Kolkata and will be on a five-day visit to the state from January 19.
"During these five days, he will hold organisational meetings and meet eminent personalities. On January 23, he will address swayamsevaks at a public programme in the Shahid Minar ground," RSS eastern zonal president Ajoy Nandi told a press conference here.
Bhagwat's visit ahead of panchayat polls in West Bengal is significant as the BJP has pulled out all the stops to make its presence felt in the state. The RSS is considered the ideological mentor of the saffron party.
Incidentally, the BJP's state executive committee will be held from January 20-21.
While addressing the media, Nandi clarified that the RSS has been organising events to commemorate Netaji's birth anniversary and valour for the last several years.
"It is not that we have been organising Netaji's birth anniversary programme for the first time. We have been doing this for the last several years. As Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat ji will be in the city during that period, so obviously, he will be participating in it," he said.
According to another senior RSS leader Biplob Roy, the saffron outfit has expanded its footprint in the state by leaps and bounds in the last few years.
Given its rapid expansion, the RSS decided to split its two organisational regions in the state into three last year.
"We had only two organisational regions - North Bengal and South Bengal. Now it has been divided into three parts North, South, and Central Bengal. Some of the districts which earlier in the south Bengal region, such as Bankura, Purulia, Birbhum, Murshidabad and Nadia, now come under the Central Bengal region," he said.
In 2014, he said, the RSS had 722 branches in South Bengal organisational districts and the figure went up to 910 branches in 2018.
After the formation of the Central Bengal region, only Howrah, Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas, and Paschim and Purba Medinipur fall under the RSS’ South Bengal region.
Roy could not provide the number of branches in the Madhya Bengal and North Bengal regions.
The ruling TMC, however, declined to attach much importance to Bhagwat's programme in the state.
"It won't yield any result in the state as the BJP is a spent force in the state," TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.