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After being denied permission for rath yatras, BJP to hold padyatras in West Bengal

Soon after the Supreme court stalled the party's decision to hold rath yatras in Bengal, BJP on Wednesday announced dates for five public meetings, the party intends to carry out in the state of West Bengal.

After the Supreme court denied permission on Tuesday, to the BJP to hold their proposed ‘rath yatra‘ or the ‘Gantantra Bachao yatra’ in West Bengal, state party president, Dilip Ghosh stated that the party will now organise ‘padyatras’ instead.

“We had hoped we will get justice in the court of law. But from the start, the state government has made efforts to stop us. We will now hold rallies and public meetings as directed by the Supreme Court. It has given us an alternative, which we will follow.” he said.

BJP had planned three grand rallies from different parts in West Bengal, travelling across the state’s 42 parliamentary constituencies over one-and-a-half months to protest against the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress government.

Amit Shah was supposed to flag them off from Cooch Behar on December 7and PM Modi was meant to end the campaign by addressing a rally in Kolkata. The state police and administration had then denied permission citing threats of ‘communal disharmony’ in the state.

The Apex court on Tuesday while hearing BJP’s petition challenging an order of the Calcutta High Court, which had set aside a ruling of allowing the procession granted by a single bench, refused to give a go-ahead for the BJP’s rath yatra in West Bengal.

The bench led by the Chief Justice of India, while hearing BJP’s plea which said that its fundamental right to hold a peaceful yatra cannot be withheld, squashed the appeal by stating that “apprehensions expressed by the state government are not unfounded”. However, it did rule that the party can hold rallies and meetings in the state after providing the government with adequate and timely information about such events.

The Supreme Court also said that the BJP could further modify its plans for the yatras, address the state government’s apprehensions and seek permission again.

The BJP state national secretary, Rahul Sinha claimed the court’s decision manifested “the real picture of law and order” in Bengal and was of the opinion that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should give up her additional post of state home minister.

“Since coming to power seven years ago, the CM has failed to improve the law and order situation here. Rath yatras are being held across the state and there has not been a single incident of violence. In Bengal too, rath yatras have been held in the past but the law and order situation did not deteriorate. This proves it has deteriorated under the present TMC government and the chief minister is responsible for this. She must take responsibility for it”, he said.

Soon after the Supreme court stalled the party’s decision to hold rath yatras in Bengal, BJP on Wednesday announced dates for five public meetings, the party intends to carry out in the state of West Bengal. According to sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party national president Amit Shah are also scheduled to attend some of them.

The party is planning to hold the first meeting on January 20, a day after the Trinamool Congress’s Brigade Rally.

The state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, during a press meet at the party headquarters in Kolkata, said, “Amit Shah will visit on January 20 and speak at Malda. On February 21, he will speak at Siuri (Birhum) and Jhargram (West Midnapore). On February 22, he will speak at Joynagar (South 24 Parganas) and Krishnanagar (Nadia). We have planned a brigade rally on February 8, during which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address people. He may be present at two other meetings as well. We are waiting for the green signal from PMO.”

Party sources said the BJP will approach the state government for permission to hold the public meetings.

“We want to cooperate with the administration. We do not want to do something which will hamper normal public life. We will fight it out with TMC politically,” said Ghosh.

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