West Bengal BJP to wait till Saturday for state govt permission for 'rath yatra'; Calcutta HC had told state to decide on rally by 14 Dec

Kolkata: The West Bengal BJP will "wait and watch" till Saturday for permission from the state government for the party's rath yatra campaign in the state, top leaders of the saffron party said Friday.

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

 West Bengal BJP to wait till Saturday for state govt permission for rath yatra; Calcutta HC had told state to decide on rally by 14 Dec

File image of BJP workers in Kolkata. PTI

"We had met government officials yesterday (13 December). Now we will wait and watch till tomorrow as the state government officials have told us they will inform us on Saturday. Let's see what happens, then we will decide our next course of action," Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said.

"Our schedule is already in place and as soon as the government grants us permission we will announce the new dates," he said.

The BJP Thursday said it will stick to its 'rath yatra' programme in West Bengal but will launch it only after hearing from the state government on the new dates.

The party held a meeting with Chief Secretary Malay Dey, Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya and state Director General of Police Virendra during the day as directed by the Calcutta High Court.

After the meeting at the Lalbazar police headquarters here, Ghosh had said, "We informed the state government that we want to organise our programme the way it was scheduled. Only the dates will be changed."

The 'rath yatra', touted as a "save democracy" programme and a "game changer" by the BJP, was scheduled to start on 7 December from Cooch Behar but could not as the state government denied permission on grounds that it might cause communal tension.

The 'rath yatra' in Cooch Behar was slated to be the first of three by the BJP in the state before the Lok Sabha polls next year. The other two were scheduled to be held on December 9 from Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district and on December 14 from Tarapith temple in Birbhum district.

The 'rath yatras ' were supposed to cover all the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.

A Calcutta High Court division bench of Justices Biswanath Somadder and A Mukherjee disposed off an appeal by the BJP against a single bench order on 6 December that refused permission for the 'rath yatra' and directed the state to hold the meeting by Wednesday.

Updated Date: Dec 14, 2018 20:04:13 IST