In a setback to the BJP, the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused the BJP permission to hold rath yatras in West Bengal saying that the fear of violence was not ‘unfounded.’ The top court, however, said that the BJP could organise meetings and rallies.
The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, according to Hindustan Times, said that the apprehension of violence by the state government was not unfounded.
Tuesday’s ruling came while hearing a petition by the BJP, which had challenged the division bench of the Calcutta High Court’s order reversing the single bench order allowing the rath yatra.
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.