WEST BENGAL Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who arrived in Lucknow on Monday evening, was received by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at the airport.
Mamata is in the city to hold a protest rally against demonetisation on Tuesday at the busy Women Power Line chauraha, where no protests have been held in the past.
“While Akhilesh is not officially scheduled to attend the protest on Tuesday, there is a possibility that he may,” said minister and SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary.
When contacted, Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy said: “We had sought permission from the state government for the protest. The administration has given its nod… The demonstration will be held for about four hours and will begin afternoon.”
ADM (East) Dhirendra Pandey said permission was given for demonstration at Women Power Line chauraha because Trinamool had asked for the venue. “It is not a dharna but a demonstration. There will not be a problem. We will not let traffic get disturbed. The demonstration will be held in one corner only,” he added.
Roy, meanwhile, said Trinamool has sent invitations to all parties in Uttar Pradesh, which have representation in the Parliament, to join the protest. “We have invited Samajwadi Party state president Shivpal Yadav,” said Roy. Asked if any party has confirmed its participation in the protest, he said: “We would know only when they reach the protest site.”
“Mamata was the first leader to oppose demonetisation within an hour of its announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8. More and more parties and social organisations have since raised their voices… The protest is not an issue of ego but principles,” Roy said, adding that demonetisation was introduced without any preparation and 74 people have died so far due to this.
While claiming that Mamata’s visit to Lucknow has nothing to do with the elections next year, Roy said TMC is the seventh party to receive the status of a national party. “The CM will visit the capitals of other states as well, including Bihar, Punjab, Odisha and the North-east to protest against demonetisation… She will continue her protest until this policy is rolled back by the Centre,” he added.