In what could be a big blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Calcutta High Court on Thursday denied permission to party president Amit Shah for a 'rath yatra' from West Bengal's Cooch Behar anticipating "communal tension" across the state. The BJP was scheduled to take out three rallies in West Bengal - one from Cooch Behar in the north, another from Kakdwip in the South 24 Parganas district on December 9 and the last one from the Tarapith temple in Birbhum district on December 14.
The Calcutta High Court has posted the matter for further hearing on January 9.
Following this, the BJP has decided to move division bench of Calcutta High Court challenging single bench order refusing permission to rath yatra, party leader Kailash Vijayvargiya told reporters.
"We will be going to division bench tomorrow morning. We will seek justice that any peaceful democratic movement is permissible under the Indian Constitution," West Bengal BJP vice president Jay Prakash Majumdar told ANI.
West Bengal BJP Vice President Jay Prakash Majumdar after Calcutta HC— ANI (@ANI) December 6, 2018
order to defer BJP's Rath Yatra: We will be going to division bench tomorrow morning. We will seek justice that any peaceful democratic movement is permissible under Indian Constitution pic.twitter.com/xSsZZYa6rr
The advocate general opposed the BJP filing a supplementary affidavit opposing the refusal of permission, saying it can either come with a fresh petition or an amendment to his petition.
"We’ve to move forward in consultation with the police, that’s why that judgement is valid till tomorrow 10:30 am. We will follow the judgement that will come tomorrow," West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.
West Bengal BJP Chief Dilip Ghosh on Calcutta High Court's order deferring party's rath yatra: We’ve to move forward in consultation with the police, that’s why that judgement is valid till tomorrow 10:30 am. We will follow the judgement that will come tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/suOwYH4kAo— ANI (@ANI) December 6, 2018
The 'rath yatra' was a part of the BJP's election campaign in 42 Lok Sabha constituencies across West Bengal, where the party aims to bag over 22 seats in the general elections next year. The BJP currently has two Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal - Asansol and Darjeeling.
At the conclusion of the scheduled 'rath yatra', the BJP would have held another rally in Kolkata, which was likely to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.