The West Bengal government has refused permission to BJP’s proposed ‘rath yatra’ scheduled to begin tomorrow from the Coochbehar town of the state, citing possible communal tension as the reason in front of a division bench of Calcutta High on Thursday.
WB Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee has even gone a step ahead and termed the ‘rath yatra’ as a ‘Ravan yatra’. She stated that the TMC will counter the rally with a ‘Pavitra Yatra’.
The state’s advocate general informed a bench of justice Joymalya Bagchi and justice Tapabrata Chakraborty on Thursday morning that the Coochbehar superintendent of police refused permission for the BJP president’s rath yatra scheduled to kick off from Friday. The BJP is expected to submit its version to the bench.
The state submitted that it might cause communal tension.
The president of the BJP’s West Bengal unit, Dilip Ghosh said, “In a democratic set up all political parties are at liberty to pursue their programme. The government has no business stopping it. If the administration denies us permission, we can also say that we will go ahead with the programme without your consent. The programme will set out and reach its destination. None can prevent it,” Ghosh said.
Last week the BJP had reiterated that they will take out the ‘rath yatra’ formally called ‘Ganatantra Bachao Yatra’ or rally to save democracy, even if the administration denies them permission.
The BJP had moved Calcutta High court on December 5, saying it was yet to be given permission for taking out three rallies in West Bengal, scheduled to begin from December 7.
BJP had claimed before the bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty that several letters sent to the DG-IGP and the home secretary, seeking permission for the three rallies, did not elicit any response.
However, Advocate General Kishore Dutta had told the court that the DG-IGP or the home secretary was not the competent authority to grant permission for the rallies, which, as a political party, the petitioner (BJP) should have known.
The BJP campaign is scheduled to begin from Coochbehar district in the north on December 7, from Kakdwip in the South 24 Parganas district on December 9 and from the Tarapith temple in Birbhum district on December 14.
On November 30, the state unit of the BJP filed a petition seeking direction from the court to the administration to ensure the smooth passage of the programme that is supposed to travel through all the 294 assembly constituencies of the state in more than 40 days.
Three raths, air-conditioned buses, will be flagged off from Madan Mohan temple in Cooch Behar on Friday, Kakdwip near the pilgrimage of Ganga Sagar at the confluence of the Hooghly river and the Bay of Bengal on December 9 and temple town of Tarapith on December 14.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is supposed to address four public rallies at different points of the yatra in Durgapur, Malda, Srirampur and Krishnagar.