After the state BJP failed to get a Supreme Court nod for its proposed ‘rath yatras’ Tuesday, state party president Dilip Ghosh said they will follow the directive and organise ‘padayatras’ 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.
The BJP’s petition challenging an order of a Calcutta High Court bench, which had stayed a single bench order allowing the ‘rath yatras’, was heard by the apex court Tuesday. In its plea, the party had said that its fundamental right to hold a peaceful yatra cannot be withheld. The SC however chose not to entertain the petition, saying that the “apprehensions expressed by the state government are not unfounded”. However, it did ask the BJP to further modify its plans for the yatras, address the state government’s apprehensions and seek permission again. It also ruled that the party can hold rallies and meetings in the state after providing the government adequate and timely information about such events.
BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya too said, “We will try to organise more rallies and meetings in every district.”
State national secretary Rahul Sinha claimed the court’s decision portrays “the real picture of law and order” in Bengal and demanded that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee 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…”
Speaking to reporters at the state secretariat, Mamata said she welcomed the court’s decision. Meanwhile, TMC leaders took a dig at the rival party. “The Supreme Court has understood that BJP intends to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere in the state by taking out such yatras. The state government had understood that BJP will pit Hindus against Muslims through these yatras and therefore submitted a report to court…They (BJP) don’t have the support of the people and yet are making plans to hold public meetings,” said senior TMC leader Jyotipriya Mullick.
According to the original schedule, the rallies were supposed to have been flagged off by BJP president Amit Shah at Cooch Behar on December 7, Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas on December 9, and Tarapith temple in Birbhum on December 14.