Kolkata: The BJP on Tuesday said it did not consider a setback the Supreme Court verdict, putting on hold the party’s proposed “rath yatra” programme in West Bengal, even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee welcomed the order.
The saffron party said it would decide on its future action after discussions with the central leadership. The proposed ‘rath yatras’ of the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls were put on hold Tuesday by the apex court, which asked the party to seek a fresh approval from the state government by submitting a revised proposal. Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’, “I welcome the court order. I’m not going to make any comment.”
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh declined to accept the SC verdict as a setback and said the party would take up other programmes to expose the “misrule” of the Trinamool Congress government in the state. “In politics sometimes you taste success, sometimes you taste defeat. But there is nothing called setback. We have other plans ready to reach out to the masses,” he said. Asked whether the BJP would chalk up a new ‘rath yatra’ schedule and seek permission from the state government in view of the verdict, Ghosh said, “We will take a call regarding it after discussion with our central leadership.”
“But one thing is for sure that even if we submit a new plan, the state (government) will again deny us permission. So we have to act accordingly,” he said. BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha hit out at the Trinamool Congress government, claiming that by repeatedly opposing the programme, it had exposed the lawlessness in the state. “The state has been repeatedly saying that our programme will create law and order problem. By doing so they (the ruling Trinamool Congress) have actually admitted that they are unable to maintain law and order in the state,” he said.
Trinamool Congress Secretary General Partha Chatterjee claimed that the BJP’s sole purpose behind the Rath Yatra programme was to disturb peace and flare up communal passions in the state. The SC bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi in its verdict asked the TMC government to consider the fresh, revised proposal of the saffron party keeping in mind the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution. The apex court said the law-and-order apprehensions of the state government were not “totally unfounded” but allowed the BJP state unit to continue with its proposed public rallies and meetings under its ‘Ganatantra Bachao Yatra’.