February 4, 2021 8:43:49 am
A PIL was filed in the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday seeking the court’s intervention to prevent the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from holding the “rath yatras” in poll-bound West Bengal, citing such yatras could lead to law and order problem in the state and accentuate the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lawyer Rama Prasad Sarkar, who filed the petition, said: “BJP’s rath yatra will deteriorate the law and order situation of the state. I have already sent a letter to the state chief secretary asking him not to grant permission to this yatra. The yatra would also risk the spread of Covid-19 infection, and the state government could not be held responsible for it. I have urged the Division of Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court not to allow this yatra.”
Two days ago, the BJP had sought permission from the state government for its month-long rath yatra, which the party plans to roll out on February 6. The party plans to take out five such yatras from five of its organisational zones in the state, criss-crossing every Assembly constituency in the state.
The state government asked the BJP leaders to seek permission from local authorities and district administrations for the yatras.
The petition is likely to come up before the High Court on Thursday.
In December 2018, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the High Court had denied permission to the BJP to carry out a similar rath yatra from Cooch Behar in north Bengal.
Reacting to the development, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “This will be more like election rallies than rath yatras. We are anyway holding roadshows that were attended by BJP chief JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. In politics, such activities continue to take place ahead of elections.”
“The TMC government is scared to see the rise of BJP in Bengal. They will not grant permission to our programme and that’s why they are making excuses. We will await a court order on this. If needed, we will move the Election Commission for permission,” Ghosh added.
According to Ghosh, Nadda is scheduled to flag off the yatra from Nabadwip in Nadia district on February 6. “Nadda ji will also flag off two more rath yatras from Jhargram and Tarapith on February 8. Amit Shah will flag off another the rath yatra from Cooch Behar on February 11. He is also scheduled to hold a public meeting in Thakurnagar the same day,” said Ghosh.
The TMC hit out at the BJP, saying such rath yatras are aimed at flaring up communal tension in the state. “We are opposing this rath yatra because it is aimed at promoting communal divide in the state. The BJP wants to flare up communal tensions ahead of the Assembly polls. We do not want the peaceful atmosphere of the state to get disrupted,” said TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh.
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