After days of conflict between the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the latter's 'Rath Yatra' in West Bengal, the state government on Wednesday informed the BJP on the details of a meeting to discuss the issue.
A division bench of the Calcutta High Court had on December 7 directed the state's chief secretary, the home secretary and the director general of police (DGP) to hold a meeting with three representatives of the BJP by December 12, and take a decision on the matter by December 14.
The TMC informed the BJP on the date and venue of the meeting that will be held on Thursday at Lalbazar conference room in Kolkata. The BJP party will be represented by Mukul Roy, JP Majumda and Pratap Banerjee and chief secretary, the home secretary and DGP will participate on behalf of the state government.
Earlier on December 9, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh had claimed the state government had not responded to requests for a meeting over the saffron party's proposed 'rath yatra'. "We had sent the letters on Saturday and had requested for a meeting. We are yet to receive any response from the state government," Ghosh said at a press conference.
Ghosh claimed that a senior police officer called up party officials on Sunday and said the DGP was "very busy". "He declined to give us any specific time frame within which we can sit for a discussion with him (DGP) regarding the 'rath yatra' programme," he said. The state BJP chief said the party had also sent letters to the home secretary, but in vain. "This is really unfortunate that despite the court order, the officials of the state government are not ready for discussions," Ghosh said.
Speaking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's December 16 rally in Siliguri, which was supposed to be a part of the 'rath yatra' campaign, Ghosh said he was still hopeful that it would take place. "We are hopeful that we would be able to conduct the rally of the prime minister as he has given us time. If we get permission for the 'rath yatra' programme by then, it will be part of it or else the rally will take place separately," he said.
BJP national president Amit Shah was to kickstart the campaign titled 'Save Democracy Rally' from Cooch Behar district on December 7, from Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district on December 9, and from Tarapith temple in Birbhum district on December 14. The 'rath yatras' were to cover all the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies of West Bengal.
The BJP moved the division bench of the Calcutta High Court after a single judge bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty on Thursday refused permission to the party to hold the yatra.