The BJP approached the Supreme Court today against an order of the Calcutta High Court that told the party to defer its "Save Democracy" yatras in West Bengal. The party has sought an urgent hearing of its special leave petition.
The BJP had planned to launch "Save Democracy" yatras from three different locations in the state, crisscrossing it before converging in Kolkata. BJP president Amit Shah was supposed to flag them off. The state administration had earlier denied permission for the political rallies, saying it would lead to law and order problem in the state.
The BJP filed a plea, following which the party received the green signal from a single-judge bench of the same court on Thursday. Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty said that the court failed to see the reasoning behind the state government's argument and instead asked it to ensure that no breach of law-and-order occurs during the event. A jubilant BJP welcomed the verdict, and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took to social media to congratulate the Bengal party leadership.
Congratulations to BJP, West Bengal for the High Court Judgement in their favour.- Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) December 20, 2018
The Mamata Banerjee government, however, appealed against the single-bench order before a division bench comprising Chief Justice Debasish Kargupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar. The division bench found the next day that Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty had not taken inputs from state intelligence agencies into account, and sent the case back with instructions that it study all the material submitted before arriving at a verdict.
Mr Shah -- who has set a target of 22 seats for the party in the Lok Sabha election -- believes that the Mamata Banerjee government denied permission for the yatras because it is "terrified" of the party making inroads in the state. "Nobody can stop rath yatras in the state," he had warned earlier.
The rallies were expected to cover all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bengal, a state where the party hopes to expand its footprint.