NEW DELHI/ COOCHBEHAR — Declaring that the BJP's growth in West Bengal has scared Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, BJP president Amit Shah Friday accused her of "throttling" democracy in the state by denying permission to three 'yatras' of his party.
Shah's scathing attack came after the BJP had to postpone three 'rath yatras' in the state due to the Mamata Banerjee government refusing permission and the party failing to get any relief from the court so far.
"We will definitely carry out all 'yatras', nobody can stop us. The BJP is committed to change in West Bengal. The 'yatras' have not been cancelled, just postponed," Shah said at a press conference in the national capital.
His party will follow the judicial process to get permission for them, Shah, who said he would visit the state on Saturday, said.
Shah's comments came a day after the Calcutta High Court refused the BJP permission to hold a 'rath yatra' in Coochbehar, following the state government expressing apprehensions of violence. Shah was scheduled to flag off the 'rath yatra' on Friday.
The BJP, which held a meeting of senior party leaders in Coochbehar on Friday, has moved an appeal before a division bench.
Training his guns on Banerjee and the Trinamool government, the BJP president said people in the state are ready for change and asserted that the party will win a majority of seats in the Lok Sabha polls.
His party's expansion in the state and win in over 7,000 seats in panchayat polls has rattled the Trinamool Congress chief. It is giving her "sleepless nights" and left her "scared", Shah said.
"She knows these yatras will lay the foundation for change. That is why she is trying to stop them," he said.
There was no immediate reaction from Banerjee or her party to Shah's charges.
According to Shah, the state government often denied permission to his party's programmes. It had kept writing to the home department and the director general of police to seek their nod for the 'yatras' but in vain, Shah alleged.
"The way Mamata Banerjee is using her government to trample upon democratic norms is very undemocratic and is throttling democracy," he said.
In his view, his party's campaign in the state against the "misgovernance" of the Trinamool has resulted in people rising against it.
He said he would give the chief minister "unsolicited" advice — that the more her government tries to suppress the BJP, the more will anger spread among people.
The BJP's expansion was a reason behind violence in the panchayat elections, allegedly by Trinamool Congress workers, with more than 20 BJP workers being victims of political killing, he said.
Shah cited the murder of three party workers and asked Banerjee what action the police had taken so far.
Such massive violence was not seen even during the Left government, he alleged, adding that the police and Trinamool Congress combined to abet political murders.
The BJP president cited a study to claim that the state accounts for 26 political murders out of 100 in the country.
"The entire West Bengal administration is working for the ruling TMC," he added.
The mafia, he alleged, was working in sectors like health, education and business, and governance has collapsed.
Not just the government, the state administration has also resorted to the "politics of appeasement" to please a community, Shah said, in an apparent reference to the Muslim community.
The state government had neither the capability nor the intention to act against outfits linked to terror, he added.
Shah also rejected the state government's claim that his party's events will lead to communal tension, saying he visited the state 23 times as BJP president and there had never been any communal flare-up.
Asked to comment on the recent violence in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, Shah noted that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has already spoken about it and a SIT has been set up to probe the matter.
BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is in Coochbehar, said Shah will be in the town if the court gives him permission. If not, he will meet party functionaries in Kolkata.
Vijayvargiya held an emergency meeting in which senior party leaders such as Arvind Menon, Shiv Prakash, Dilip Ghosh and Mukul Roy were present to take stock of the situation.
Echoing the party president, Vijayvargiya said yatras would be organised in the state.