A division bench that was hearing the BJP’s appeal, asked the administration to ensure that there is no breach of law and order during the proposed rath yatras.
The three BJP rath yatras, expected to criss-cross Bengal ahead of next year’s general elections, received a green signal from the Calcutta high court today. The court scrapped the objections of the Mamata Banerjee’s government, which had claimed that the yatras could trigger communal tensions. The administration was asked to ensure there was no breach of law and order.
The BJP had planned three rallies — one from Cooch Behar, in the northern part of the state — and two others from Kakdwip, in the extreme southern part, and Tarapith temple in Birbhum district.
Taken together, the three yatras would cover all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bengal – one of the few non-BJP states.
BJP chief Amit Shah — who set the party a target of 22 seats in next year’s national elections — said permission for the yatras were refused as Ms Banerjee was “terrified” that the party would expand its influence in the state. The BJP chief also warned that “nobody can stop rath yatras in the state”.
Ms Banerjee’s close aide and Trinamool Congress lawmaker Derek O’Brien yesterday ridiculed the ambitions of the BJP, which currently has only two seats in the state.
“PM and Amit Shah all about jumlas (political rhetoric). Jumlas on jobs, doubling farm incomes. New jumla today, that they would win over 20 seats in Bengal,” Mr O’Brien said.
The BJP, he said, “should work to protect the two seats they’ve got, otherwise they’d be reduced to zero… the roshogolla would have no sugar”.
The ruling Trinamool Congress would embark on a “pavitr yatra” (purification march) a day after BJP’s rath yatra, he added.