After Mohan Bhagwat, Amit Shah meet cancelled in Kolkata
The cancellation comes after authorities denied permission to a programme involving RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for October and another Shah rally in 2014.Updated: Sep 06, 2017 14:43 IST
The BJP has called off a major rally it planned for president Amit Shah at Kolkata later this month as authorities of the venue, the Netaji Indoor Stadium, refused reservation citing bookings, further fuelling a feud between ruling Trinamool Congress and saffron forces.
The cancellation comes after authorities denied permission to a programme involving RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for October and another Shah rally in 2014, which, however, was held after the Calcutta high court intervened.
The BJP president is visiting West Bengal between September 11 and 13. Party leaders had sought to book the stadium, which can hold 12,000 people, on September 10 or 13. On August 28, they were given a booking, and asked to come back with an NOC from Kolkata police.
“But on August 30, we were told that the stadium was booked for the entire month except the Durga Puja days on September 27-30,” said Sayantan Basu, general secretary of BJP in the state.
“We have decided to cancel the meeting as we are not getting such a big venue anywhere else,” Basu said. Shah will hold the rest of the meetings as scheduled.
Though Netaji Indoor Stadium officials remained incommunicado, Trinamool Congress leaders told the media that the booking of the stadium is not decided by any minister or party leader, and they have nothing to do with it.
“BJP sniffs political conspiracy at every step. Those who don’t have the capacity to fill Netaji Indoor Stadium can only come up with such allegations. The stadium is not controlled by the government, or the party. It is run by a committee,” said Partha Chatterjee, education minister and Trinamool secretary general.
In November 2014, the Mamata Banerjee administration was directly accused for not issuing permission to Shah’s meeting at the heart of the city at Esplanade. Eventually, Calcutta high court intervened and gave the nod for the meeting.
The war of words between the two groups intensified after the cancellation of allotment of Mahajati Sadan for a programme on October 3 where Bhagwat would have been the key speaker. Though the Sadan is directly administered by the government, the authorities said the hall will be closed for maintenance work between September 26 and October 6.
Sangh Parivar leaders apart from Tripura governor Tathatgata Roy have alleged that the Mamata Banerjee government is putting up lame excuses to thwart the meeting of the RSS chief.
“There is no question of deliberately preventing someone from holding a meeting,” said food minister Jyotipriyo Mullick.