As the BJP rolls out its rath yatra in West Bengal to mobilise greater support ahead of the assembly election, the ruling Trinamool Congress has promised to counter it with a massive motorcycle rally.
On Saturday all eyes will be on Nadia District. BJP chief JP Nadda will flag off his party’s rath yatra from there. The Trinamool’s Youth Congress in Nadia has also promised to hold a two-day janasamarthan yatra starting Saturday, with thousands of motorcycles crisscrossing the district.
The state government on Friday clarified that it had not denied permission for the BJP’s yatra. “GoWB has not denied permission to any Yatra, as claimed by @BJP4Bengal. They are indulging in malicious propaganda with neither substance nor truth. BJP must show material evidence of GoWB denying permission to their Yatra. This is BJP’s attempt to claim victimhood,” the Trinamool tweeted.
“A BJP functionary had sought permission from Chief Secy, whose office directed them to local authorities. Meanwhile, a PIL was also filed regarding the same in the High Court & the matter is now sub judice. We thereby clarify that AITC has nothing to do with this issue,” the party said.
The police chief of Nadia has not denied permission for the BJP event, but has written to the party seeking details about arrangements to receive Nadda, who has ‘Z’ category protection. Authorities also want details of the rath yatra’s destination, route, overnight halts, boarding and lodging arrangements, and they have asked the BJP to ensure COVID-19 rules are followed.
“Our parivartan yatra will be the antim (last) yatra for TMC. Last time we had gone to court for permission. This time TMC has gone to court first. We tried to hold ‘save democracy’ in the past but they stopped us. Let’s see what happens this time,” West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.
The assembly election in Bengal is being seen as a two-personality fight between BJP chief Amit Shah and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The BJP’s internal assessment, as well as opinion polls, indicates it will not be able to dethrone the Trinamool. The party will not get more than 120 seats even in the best-case scenario, a senior BJP leader said on condition of anonymity.
A recent opinion poll of ABP News and CVoter projected TMC to win 154 seats in the 294-member assembly. The BJP will fall way short of 148 seats – needed for a majority – and will have to be content with 102, the poll said.
Local online portals and YouTube channels said the party would not cross even the three-figure mark.
However, the BJP leader said the momentum is in his party’s favour. “We now need to give a decisive push to our campaign. The rath yatras will exactly do that,” she said.