No response from West Bengal govt to request for 'rath yatra' meeting: BJP

Kolkata, West Bengal, IndiaUpdated: Dec 09, 2018, 11:15 PM IST

File photo. Photograph:(ANI)

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A single-judge bench of the high court had refused permission to the BJP Thursday for conducting a 'rath yatra' in Coochbehar after the West Bengal government refused to allow the event saying it may cause communal tension. The party then moved the division bench of the court against the verdict Friday.

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Sunday claimed the TMC-led state government has not responded to requests for a meeting over the saffron party's proposed 'rath yatra'.

"We had sent the letters on Saturday and had requested for a meeting. We are yet to receive any response from the state government," Ghosh said at a press conference.

A division bench of the Calcutta High Court had on Friday directed the state's chief secretary, the home secretary and the director general of police (DGP) to hold a meeting with three representatives of the BJP by December 12, and take a decision on the matter by December 14.

Ghosh claimed that a senior police officer called up party officials on Sunday and said the DGP was "very busy".

"He declined to give us any specific time frame within which we can sit for a discussion with him (DGP) regarding the 'rath yatra' programme," he said.

The state BJP chief said the party had also sent letters to the home secretary but in vain.

"This is really unfortunate that despite the court order, the officials of the state government are not ready for discussions," Ghosh said.

BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who was also present at the press conference, also shared similar sentiments.

He said he had specially come from Delhi to talk to the DGP, but the West Bengal government officials were behaving like Trinamool Congress' (TMC) cadres.

"Even if the DGP is busy on Sunday and cannot meet BJP leaders to discuss the matter, he should at least give us a specific time, be it Monday or Tuesday, when he would be able to meet. Unfortunately, most of the police and government officials behave as cadres of the TMC," he said.

Vijayvargiya dismissed allegations that the BJP's 'rath yatra' was aimed at creating communal tension in the state.

"Not a single incident of communal riot has taken place in Bengal due to any BJP rally or programme. The allegations against us are completely baseless," he said.

Speaking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's December 16 rally in Siliguri, which was supposed to be a part of the 'rath yatra' campaign, Ghosh said he was still hopeful that it would take place.

"We are hopeful that we would be able to conduct the rally of the prime minister as he has given us time. If we get permission for the 'rath yatra' programme by then, it will be part of it or else the rally will take place separately," he said.

BJP national president Amit Shah was to kickstart the campaign titled 'Save Democracy Rally' from Cooch Behar district on Friday, from Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district on December 9, and from Tarapith temple in Birbhum district on December 14.

The 'rath yatras' were to cover all the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies of West Bengal.

The BJP moved the division bench of the Calcutta High Court after a single judge bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty on Thursday refused permission to the party to hold the yatra.