Joynagar, West Bengal:
Hours after Amit Shah was allegedly denied permission to land his chopper for a rally in Bengal, supporters of the BJP and the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress clashed at the venue of the cancelled event. The BJP said Amit Shah “was compelled to hold only two rallies” after Mamata Banerjee’s government withdrew permission for the rally.
For some time, while there was uncertainty over whether Amit Shah would make it to the rally, the BJP candidate in the Jadhavpur constituency, Anupam Hazra, waited at the venue. As a Trinamool procession went by, the supporters of the two parties fought, exchanged abuses and snatched and tore up each other’s flags. The police had to break up the fight.
Addressing the first rally at South 24 Parganas, Amit Shah accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of cancelling his programme because she was worried for her nephew, the Trinamool’s candidate.
“I was to visit three places today, but Mamata’s ji‘s nephew is contesting from one of the seats so she is scared her nephew will lose, and that’s why she cancelled the permission for our rally,” Amit Shah said.
The BJP president also challenged the Chief Minister to arrest him, saying: “Mamata didi, I am chanting Jai Shri Ram here and leaving for Kolkata, arrest me if you have guts,” Amit Shah said as he left to campaign in Bishnupur in Rajarhat.
He also commented at “in Didi‘s rule, Durga Puja is also not given permission.”
The back and forth over “Jai Shri Ram” started after the chant was shouted at Mamata Banerjee’s convoy a few days ago. A video on social media showed Ms Banerjee stopping her car at a place in West Midnapore and chasing those who chanted the slogan.
Seizing the incident, Amit Shah had said at a rally last week: “Lord Ram is a part of the culture of India… Can anybody stop people from taking his name? I want to ask Mamata didi, if Shri Ram’s name is not taken in India, will it be chanted in Pakistan?”
The BJP has urged the Election Commission to act against the Bengal government for blocking Mr Shah’s rally. “This is murder of democracy. The EC should take cognizance of the matter. If important leaders are not allowed to hold rallies then what is the meaning of elections,” said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar questioned.
He said the Bengal administration had been denying permission to the events of Amit Shah and other BJP leaders because the ruling Trinamool was worried about growing support for the party. Mamata Banerjee’s party, he said, was using “undemocratic means” to target the BJP.
In 42-seat Bengal, nine seats will vote in the last phase of the general election.
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