HC denies permission for BJP’s Rath Yatra, state party chief’s vehicle attacked

Cooch Behar/Kolkata Political temperatures soared in West Bengal on Thursday after an attack on the state BJP president’s vehicle by miscreants, even as the Calcutta High Court refused permission to the party “at this stage” to hold a rally in northern West Bengal’s Cooch Behar that was slated to be flagged off by party chief Amit Shah on Friday.

Acting on a petition moved by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that sought the court’s direction to the state government for giving the go-ahead for the “Rath Yatra” rally, Justice Tapabrata Chakrabrorty said the rally stannds deferred till January 9 next year, the next date of hearing, after the state government declined to green light the programme, arguing it could trigger communal tension.

Shocked by the high court’s refusal, the BJP leaders rushed to Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta, and later claimed that he has asked them to draw attention of the division bench on Friday morning, when the plea would be considered.

“The matter will be heard at 10.30 a.m on Friday,” said state BJP vice president Jay Prakash Majumdar.

The BJP has chalked out three Rath Yatra rallies, set to touch all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies of West Bengal, and lined up its prominent national leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah for public meetings this month, in its bid to expand its footprint in the eastern state where it is making a frenetic attempt to throw a strong challenge to the ruling Trinamool Congress in next year’s general election.

The BJP’s ambitious plan has triggered a political slugfest, with the Trinamoool, Congress and the Left Front accusing it of hatching a conspiracy to cause a religious polarisation in the state for reaping political dividends.

The heightened political tension took an ugly form on Thursday, as BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh’s convoy was attacked allegedly by Trinamool workers in Sitalkuchi area of Cooch Behar district, after he reached there to participate in the Rath Yatra.

Television grab showed some people, their faces covered with black clothes, beating the vehicles with sticks.

Ghosh escaped unhurt but the vehicles were damaged.The BJP state chief later said in Cooch Behar they are not putting the rally on hold, as all preparations has been completed.

“We have moved the division bench, we are waiting for the hearing there.

“The rally will begin tomorrow (Friday). We had started preparations six months back. We have spent lakhs and crores. Our workers have worked tirelessly for months.

“Amit Shah ji will come tomorrow. We have told him we are ready. Lots of people have reached here. So, we can’t stop the rally at this stage. We are looking at the court. We will decide tomorrow what we will do.” (IANS )