West Bengal BJP
Picture of West Bengal villagers listening to Amit Shah on LED screen sparks criticism on Twitter Image Credit: Twitter

As India struggles with the coronavirus outbreak and West Bengal is devastated by Cyclone Amphan, a picture of villagers sitting on the ground, with an LED TV fastened to a bamboo shrub, in the state, has sparked outrage on online.

Reportedly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had set up 70,000 flat-screen television sets and 15,000 giant LED screens across the state for Union Home Minister Amit Shah's virtual rally on Tuesday that set off its campaign for assembly elections due in 2021, Indian news outlets reported. The state has an estimated 78,000 polling booths.

BJP National General Secretary BL Santhosh, @blsanthosh, tweeted a photo of villagers watching Shah on one of the TV sets, with the caption: “People in remote villages of West Bengal listening to @AmitShah during #BJPJanSamvad. This is the reach @BJP4Bengal has achieved through relentless pursuit for last five years. People want better days.”

However, his boast did not settle well with Twitter users as responses with criticism soon started rolling in.

Referring to the thousands of migrant workers who were stranded across India as soon as the coronavirus lockdown was imposed, tweep @abhishek3454 wrote: “Migrant labourers haven't yet reached their home in Bihar but BJP's LED reached before them. Finally the best use of …a ‘PM Cares Fund’. Thank you Modi Ji…”

Similarly, Twitter user @bashajeddah posted: “Our MPs [Member of Parliament] unable to arrange sufficient flights to Karnataka from gulf countries. Air India charging more than double price from its passengers. Shameless BJP government doesn't have money to take care of its labourers but they have money for 72000 LED screens for Amit Shah's rally.”

Tweep @Bharathpkgl had a question about the state of healthcare in India's rural areas: “Is same remote area people in West Bengal getting treatment for coronavirus? Please let us know.”

The BJP on Tuesday had said that Amit Shah's virtual rally was a "huge success" as more than 20 million people across West Bengal watched it, a claim which the ruling partly, All India Trinamool Congress, described as "far from reality", reported NDTV, India-based television news channel.

Shah addressed the rally from New Delhi as part of the BJP's nationwide "Jan Samvad" campaign.