‘No one can stop Bengal rath yatra’

‘No one can stop Bengal rath yatra’

BJP National President Amit Shah addresses a press conference, in New Delhi, Friday, Dec. 07, 2018. (PTI Photo)

Elections in five states over, BJP chief Amit Shah fixed his eyes on West Bengal, the catchment area for the saffron party in next Lok Sabha polls and trained guns on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for denying permission to his party to hold rally in the state.

Locking horns with Banerjee, Shah virtually sounded the poll bugle for 2019 general elections and claimed when the next general elections will be held, the BJP will win the majority of Lok Sabha seats there and is committed to bringing the change to end the “reign of terror” there.

“People are Bengal are ready for the change. I want to tell Mamata Banerjee that by preventing the BJP from holding its programme she will not be able to halt this. It will only increase the anger of the people against her,” Shah said claiming that she is “scared” with BJP’s growth in the state.

In his first media interaction after state polls are over, Shah drew upon from images from the cultural and religious heritage of West Bengal to paint a picture of contrast between “Ravindra Sangeet” and the “sound of bomb blasts” and the legacy of Vaishnavite “Saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu” and sinful brothers from Nadia “Jagai-Madhai”, who used to fight the followers of the former before they were converted into his disciples.

“Ravindra Sangeet has been muted in the noise of bombs. Only bomb blasts are heard now, where Ravind Sangeet was played out earlier. Jagai and Madhai are seen everywhere in the state. Jagai and Madhai had attacked Chaitanya Mahaprabhu there,” he said.

While raking up the issue of law and order Shah also reminded “maximum number of temple thefts have taken place in West Bengal” and also the “tradition of putting obstacles in procession for Ramnavami or immersion of idols after  Durga Puja”.

BJP had won two out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in 2014 Lok Sabha polls and six of 295 assembly seats in 2016 state elections. The saffron party is eyeing West Bengal in a big way with a visible surge in appeal for Hindutva politics in cities, particularly among the upper caste Bengali population.

After the constant decline of Congress and then Left, BJP has attempted to project itself as the alternative force in the state, championing Hindutva cause and painting Mamata Banerjee as a face of Muslim appeasement.

It has planned three rathyatras in three air-conditioned buses decorated as chariots to criss-cross nearly 11,000 km, covering all 294 Assembly constituencies in West Bengal for nearly a month. All top BJP leaders including 20 BJP Chief Ministers were supposed to be party of this mammoth campaign, which is to be organized in December January there.

Declaring that BJP workers are not afraid of TMC’s persecution tactics and will hold all their three planned rallies, the BJP chief said, “nobody can stop us” but was quick to clarify that they will take the legal recourse to do it. 

BJP had planned three rallies starting today from Cooch Behar to criss-cross the state ahead of next year's general elections. The state government refused permission to Shah's 'rath yatra' anticipating "communal tension", a decision accepted by even the Calcutta High Court on Thursday.

On a day, Shah made the assertions in the national capital; clashes also broke out between BJP supporters and cops in Kolkata.

At the BJP briefing, Shah, however, made it clear while the three Yatras will definitely be carried out, “we will do it as per law”.

Reeling out figures, he said that West Bengal tops in the number of political killings and 26 of 100 political killings in the nation are recorded in West Bengal.