The BJP reacted angrily on Monday alleging a conspiracy by the West Bengal government against its national president, Amit Shah. The saffron party alleged that the state’s Trinamool government had refused to allow Shah’s helicopter to land in Malda for his proposed rally in Bengal.
Speaking to reporters, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Tomorrow our National President Amit Shah, after having recovered, was to address a rally in Malda in West Bengal. But, the permission has been refused for his helicopter to land on the ground that airport renovation work is going on and some construction material is there.”
Prasad detected foul play here as he alleged that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s chopper had landed here, ‘a few days ago.’ He told news agency ANI, “At the same helipad, Mamata ji’s helicopter landed few days ago. Some journalists went there, I have pictures, it is neat and clean. Helicopters are landing and can land. Based on baseless falsehood, by abuse of government power, helicopter of Amit Shah ji had been denied.”
Shah was recently diagnosed with swine flu and had to be taken to the AIIMS for treatment. On Sunday, he announced that he had recovered from his illness.
The latest helicopter controversy comes just days after the Supreme Court agreed with the state government and rejected the BJP’s plea for holding rath yatra in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. While rejecting the plea, the top court had said that the the fear of violence expressed by the state government was not ‘unfounded.’
Both the BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress have been at loggerheads over the issue of rath yatras. While the BJP planned to cover 42 parliamentary constituencies in Bengal ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls through its rath yatra, the ruling TMC accused the saffron party of disturbing the state’s communal harmony.
Under their original plan, BJP President Amit Shah was scheduled to kick off his rath yatra from Cooch Behar on 7 December, Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas on 9 December and Tarapith temple in Birbhum on 14 December.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it SC it may consider the BJP’s plea if it came out with a revised plan of fresh yatra. The top court had refused to hear the BJP’s plea on an urgent basis last month.
The BJP has been desperately trying to make inroads in West Bengal, which has turned into a fiefdom of sorts for the Trinamool Congress and its leader and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The saffron party sees a great opportunity to win as many seats as possible in this year’s Lok Sabha polls by invoking its Hindutva agenda.