The West Bengal government has told a division bench of Calcutta High Court it will not give its approval for the rath yatra to be flagged off by the Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah on Friday from Cooch Behar town of the state.
The state’s advocate general informed a bench of justice Joymalya Bagchi and justice Tapabrata Chakraborty on Thursday morning about the decision. The BJP is submitting its version to the bench.
“In a democratic set up all political parties are at liberty to pursue their programme. The government has no business stopping it,” said Dilip Ghosh, president of the BJP’s West Bengal unit.
“If the administration denies us permission, we can also say that we will go ahead with the programme without your consent. The programme will set out and reach its destination. None can prevent it,” Ghosh said.
Last week, BJP leaders said they will take out their yatra, formally known as Ganatantra Bachao Jatra or rally to save democracy, even if the administration denies it permission.
“The advocate general said in the court on Wednesday that BJP leaders did not address the letter to the appropriate authority. He also alleged that the content was not clear,” Feroze Eduljee, one of the advocates for the BJP, said on Wednesday.
“The court then remarked that the administration should have guided them to the proper authority and also asked the stand of the government on the matter. The AG said he will inform the court of the decision at the first hour on Thursday,” Eduljee said.
The lawyers of the saffron party told the court that despite repeated letters, the administration kept ignoring the communication.
On November 30, the state unit of the BJP filed a petition seeking direction from the court to the administration to ensure the smooth passage of the programme that is supposed to travel through all the 294 assembly constituencies of the state in more than 40 days.
Three raths, air-conditioned buses, will be flagged off from Madan Mohan temple in Cooch Behar on Friday, Kakdwip near the pilgrimage of Ganga Sagar at the confluence of the Hooghly river and the Bay of Bengal on December 9 and temple town of Tarapith on December 14.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is supposed to address four public rallies at different points of the yatra in Durgapur, Malda, Srirampur and Krishnagar.
First Published: Dec 06, 2018 13:23 IST