Bharatiya Janata Party President JP Nadda kickstarted a statewide “Parivartan Yatra” at Nabadwip in West Bengal’s Nadia district on Saturday ahead of Assembly elections in the state, ANI reported. Addressing a public rally on the occasion, Nadda said that the campaign will mark not just the “parivartan [change]” of government in the state, but also its thinking.
“[West Bengal Chief Minister] Mamata di [Banerjee] formed government 10 years ago by swearing on Maa, Maati, Manush,” Nadda said. “But in 10 years, Maa [mother] was looted, Maati [soil] was disrespected and Manush [people] were not protected.”
The BJP chief criticised Banerjee for not implementing central initiatives like PM-Kisan, a cash benefit scheme for farmers and health insurance project Ayushman Bharat, in West Bengal, ANI reported.
“[Prime Minister Narendra] Modi ji tried to give everything to West Bengal,” he said. “But she [Banerjee] always says chai na, chai na [don’t want, don’t want].”
Earlier on Saturday, Nadda held a roadshow and addressed a public rally in the neighboring district of Malda, too, and asserted that the people of West Bengal have decided to bid “goodbye” to Banerjee.
As part of the campaign launched on Saturday, the BJP said that each yatra [procession] will include a “rath”[chariot] and will run simultaneously in different segments/territories of the state,” reported NDTV, quoting a letter sent by the party to West Bengal’s chief secretary.
With the rally, the BJP expects to mobilise public support for the party, which has made significant inroads in the Trinamool Congress-ruled state ahead of the elections. Several senior leaders are scheduled to arrive in West Bengal during the month-long campaign.
However, there was some confusion about whether BJP has permission to hold the political event. Unidentified officials said the administration granted permission for a public meeting at Nabadwip, but there was still no go-ahead for the “Parivartan Yatra”.
“Permission has only been given to the programme for Nadda ji,” a police officer told NDTV. “He will address the public in a meeting. No permission has been given for the so-called Rath Yatra.”
The BJP leadership said they will go ahead with the event, irrespective of local formalities. Party spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said that they had not sought permission for the yatra, but had only informed the state administration about it.
“BJP is the biggest political party in the world,” he added, according to The Hindu. “We do not need permission to hold our peaceful political programmes. The yatra will be held as per schedule.”
The Trinamool Congress, in turn, alleged that the BJP was trying to stir communal passions in the state.
The party also clarified on Friday that the state government had not denied the BJP permission for the yatra and that the matter was sub judice. A plea has been filed in the Calcutta High Court, urging the court to deny permission for the yatra.
“They [the BJP] are indulging in malicious propaganda with neither substance nor truth,” the Trinamool Congress had tweeted. “BJP must show material evidence of GoWB [Government of West Bengal] denying permission to their Yatra. This is BJP’s attempt to claim victimhood.”
The Trinamool Youth Congress also announced that will hold a huge motorcycle rally in Nadia district on the same day of the BJP’s outreach event. The campaign named “Jansamarthan Yatra” is a two-day event and will be flagged off at Chapra on Saturday, reported India Today. The TMC rally move through Krishnanagar and end at Palashi.