The West Bengal government on Thursday approached a division bench of the Calcutta High Court challenging a single bench order that earlier in the day allowed the BJP to carry on with its ‘Rath Yatras’ across the state as part of its campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The matter will be heard by a division bench led by Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta on Friday, ANI reported
The move comes after the single bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty rejected the government’s decision to refuse permission for the rallies over apprehensions of communal unrest and allowed the saffron party to continue with the yatras, scheduled to be held in Cooch Behar, Sagar Island and Tarapith on December 22, 24 and 26, respectively.
Directing the administration to ensure that there was no breach of law and order during the yatras, Justice Chakraborty asked the state BJP to inform the superintendents of police of districts where the rallies would pass at least 12 hours ahead of schedule.
The saffron party moved court on Monday after the Mamata Banerjee government denied it permission, for the second time, to hold the yatras. After holding a meeting with BJP party leaders last week as mandated by the court in an earlier hearing, the government had informed it that would not be able to grant permission to take out the rallies due to law and order concerns.
After two weeks of back and forth in the HC over the issue, BJP castigated the government, calling the verdict a “victory of democracy”. “It is a victory of democracy and the people of West Bengal. It is a defeat of those who are murdering democracy here. The state government without any reason had said that this Rath Yatra will deteriorate the law and order situation here,” said state BJP vice-president Joy Prakash Majumdar.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley too hit out at the ruling party, saying if the BJP government had stopped an opposition rally, it would have been called an “undeclared emergency”.
“Why are human rights activists and opposition parties silent on denial of a right to a political party to organise its programme in West Bengal. If any NDA/BJP Government had stopped an opposition Programme, it would have been called an “Undeclared Emergency”. Why Silence now?” Jaitley tweeted.