Union Home Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Amit Shah on Sunday asked the voters of West Bengal to give a chance to the saffron party in the Assembly elections to be held next year.

Addressing a rally in Bolpur in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, Shah said that the people of Bengal have given a chance to the Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Trinamool Congress. “Give a chance to [Prime Minister] Narendra Modi,” he said. “We will make Sonar Bangla in five years.”

Shah said that the yearning for change was not about replacing a political leader but “getting rid of corruption, political violence, extortion and Bangladeshi infiltration”. He also said that the BJP would end illegal immigration if voted to power. “I am here to promise you that when you vote for us, you will be voting for progress,” he said. “Bengal has lost its way to progress.”

At a press conference after the roadshow in Bolpur, the home minister alleged that the TMC government could not stop infiltration as it believes in minority appeasement, reported PTI.

He said that the people were angry at the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government, adding that the strength of the crowd was its proof. “I have even organised many [rallies], but what I am witnessing today is nothing like what we have seen before,” Shah said. “This gathering shows the anger the people of Bengal have against Mamata [Banerjee]. Bengal’s people want change.”

Shah also condemned the attack on BJP President JP Nadda’s convoy and said that political violence was at its pinnacle in the state.

“I want to let everyone know that neither party nor party worker will give up to this pressure and pain,” he said at the press conference, according to India Today. “We will fight in a democratic way. We will not reply with violence.”

The home minister also accused Banerjee of family politics, saying that she was worried about the political career of her nephew and TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee. “The government has been politicised and corruption institutionalised in Bengal,” Shah alleged.

Shah said the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate will be someone from West Bengal, according to the Hindustan Times. “...Don’t worry, no one from Delhi will come to defeat you [Banerjee],” he said. “Someone from Bengal will challenge you and be the next CM of the state.”

He called upon the people, who want to raise the voice against the TMC, to join the BJP. He claimed that the state’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product has fallen from 30% during the time of Independence to 3% now.

“FDI [Foreign Domestic Investment] in Bengal continues to stand at just 1% from 2011 till date,” he claimed, adding that the state is “20th in industrial growth out of 32 in India and its CAGR [Compound Annual Growth Rate] stands just 5.74%”. He also claimed that the growth rate of the service sector was at 5.8%.

Shah also claimed that the Centre had not done anything in the state that was against the federal structure, reported ANI. He was apparently replying to a tweet by Banerjee on the Centre’s orders to relieve three Indian Police Service officers immediately for joining the central deputation. The chief minister had accused the BJP-led central government of going against the federal structure of the country.

“This act is nothing but a deliberate attempt to encroach upon State’s jurisdiction & demoralize the serving officers in WB [West Bengal],” Banerjee had tweeted. “This move, particularly before the elections is against the basic tenets of the federal structure. It’s unconstitutional & completely unacceptable!”

The home minister was on a two-day visit to the state. He went to a remote village in Birbhum district, where he had lunch, according to the Hindustan Times. BJP leaders, including state President Dilip Ghosh, national General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, national Vice President Mukul Roy, also had accompanied him.

“By having a simple lunch with the family of a poor villager while listening to baul songs Shah wanted to send out a message that he is very much linked to the soil of Bengal,” BJP National Secretary Anupam Hazra said. “He also wanted to send out a message that TMC’s atrocities would come to an end when BJP comes to power.”

Shah also visited Visva Bharati University, set up by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, and attended a cultural programme. He paid floral tributes to Tagore at Rabindra Bhavana in Santiniketan.