BJP national president Amit Shah will not visit Cooch Behar in West Bengal where he was scheduled to attend a rally on Friday; he will instead address a press conference in New Delhi at 1pm, sources in the BJP said. The development comes even as the party earlier in the day moved the Calcutta High Court against refusal of permission for its rally or rath yatra by a single bench. The matter will be heard by a division bench at 12.30pm
For the past one week, Jhinaidanga, which is a few kilometres from Cooch Behar, has been gearing up for a public gathering as well as a rally by the BJP for Friday. Hundreds of workers were busy in the preparation work, with some of them keeping vigil the whole night to check vandalisation of the venue by any opposing forces.
On Thursday night, the Calcutta High Court had denied permission for the rally, saying there was not enough time for the state to make adequate security arrangements for a political rally of that scale. The high court also directed the party not to hold any such rally till January 9, 2019. Lawyers from the BJP then approached the division bench of the high court.
Since the court’s ban is specifically on rallies and not on public meetings, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said on Thursday that they will hold the public meeting at Jhinaidanga even if they were denied permission for the rally.
At the same time, BJP’s national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said the party will not take out the rath yatra, (whose curriculum includes both rally and meeting) without the permission of the court.
With the contradicting positions of the party superiors, the party workers at the venue are now anxiously waiting for the high court’s decision.
Earlier, the party was also refused a venue in Cooch Behar for a public meeting. A BJP worker then offered his 7-bigha agricultural land in Jhinaidnaga for the party to host the gathering. Soon, the work to transform a farmland into a venue for a political gathering began. A stage was set up, seating arrangements were made.