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Nobody can stop BJP from carrying out ‘rath yatras’ in Bengal: Shah


New Delhi: A day after being denied permission to take out three “rath yatras” in West Bengal, BJP chief Amit Shah said that the Mamata Banerjee-led ruling TMC is scared of the saffron party’s growing popularity and accused Didi of “throttling” democracy in the state by denying permission for its road shows.

Declaring that the BJP is in no mood to change its plans, Mr Shah said, “We will definitely carry out all ‘yatras’, nobody can stop us. The BJP is committed to change in West Bengal. The ‘yatras’ have not been cancelled, just postponed.”

Hitting out at Ms Banerjee, Mr Shah said, “She knows these yatras will lay the foundation for change. That is why she is trying to stop them… The way Mamata Banerjee is using her government to trample upon democratic norms is very undemocratic and is throttling democracy.”

Shah’s attack on the TMC came soon after the Calcutta high court on Friday rapped the state government for not responding to BJP letters seeking permission for its rallies.

The division bench of the high court also directed top state officials to take a decision on the BJP’s “rath yatras” by December 14.

“Mamata didi’s attempts to deny the BJP its legitimate right to undertake political campaign in the state to expose TMC’s misgovernance has been thwarted by the court, which has asked Bengal administration to cooperate. Big win for democracy! BJP will soon set out on its ‘Gantantra Bachao Yatra’,” tweeted Mr Shah.

The BJP had to postpone three “rath yatras” in the state due to the Mamata Banerjee government refusing permission on grounds that it anticipated “communal tension” and a single bench of the high court on Thursday rejecting the saffron party’s challenge to the state government’s decision. Mr Shah was scheduled to flag off the “rath yatra” Coochbehar on Friday but changed his plan after the setback and moved the division bench of the high court against the single judge’s decision.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Mr Shah said on Friday that his party will follow the judicial process to get permission for “rath yatras”, said Mr Shah, announcing his plans to visit the state on Saturday.

Rejecting the state government’s claim that BJP’s events will lead to communal tension, Mr Shah said he visited the state 23 times as the party president and there had never been any communal flare-up and instead accused the ruling party and the state administration of playing appeasement politics in every sector.

Asserting that the people in the state are ready for change, Mr Shah said that the BJP will win a majority of seats in the Lok Sabha polls in the state. He claimed that his party’s expansion in West Bengal and win in over 7,000 seats in panchayat polls has rattled the TMC chief.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had planned to take out three “yatras” in the state where it has been trying hard to increase its support base and vote share. As per the earlier schedule, the first “yatra” was to be flagged off from Coochbehar on Friday, second Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district on December 9 and the last on December 14 from Tarapith temple in Birbhum district.