Varanasi: The BJP has demanded the immediate transfer of the Returning Officer who did not grant permission for a rally by its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Varanasi, from where he is contesting the general elections.
Leading a protest near the Benaras Hindu University in Varanasi, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley told NDTV today that permission for a rally at Benia Bagh in the city had initially been granted to the party and then was withdrawn.
"Permisson was granted on 7th (May) morning and we deposited 10,000 rupees. At midnight we were told that permission is withdrawn," an angry Mr Jaitley alleged, describing how he had "run pillar to post" to convince the Election Commission to allow the rally.
The Returning Officer, Pranjal Yadav, who is representing the Election Commission, has cited security concerns for disallowing Mr Modi's rally in the city. Mr Jaitley said, "I stand by my words describing him as a delinquent officer."
He dismissed what he called the "security bogey" and pointed out that leaders like the Congress' Rahul Gandhi and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal were being allowed public meetings in the city. ""How can security not be a concern for Rahul Gandhi and be one for Modi?" he asked.
Mr Gandhi is expected to hold a roadshow in Varanasi on Saturday. Mr Kejriwal is contesting elections against Mr Modi in Varanasi.
The BJP had planned three Modi events in Varanasi today. Permission for prayers on the banks of the Ganga and a meeting with 150 people in a hotel came in on Wednesday evening, too late said, Mr Jaitley, to organise them.
A livid BJP has also alleged that a venue offered to them instead of Benia Bagh for Mr Modi's rally can hold not more than 2000 people.