Calcutta HC questions West Bengal BJP’s July 21 rally plans

Supporters have begun arriving for the TMC’s massive annual Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata on July 21

July 19, 2022 08:13 pm | Updated 10:45 pm IST - Kolkata

A view of the Calcutta High Court

A view of the Calcutta High Court | Photo Credit: Sushanta Patronobish

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday questioned the West Bengal BJP’s decision to hold a public meeting on July 21, the day on which the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is organising a Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata. The State’s ruling party holds a large rally every year to commemorate the death of 13 workers who were killed in a police firing on July 21, 1993 during the erstwhile Left Front government’s regime.

The West Bengal unit of the BJP had sought permission from the administration to organise a rally at Uluberia in the State’s Howrah district on July 21. Upon refusal by the administration, the BJP leadership approached Calcutta High Court. On Tuesday, Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya asked why the BJP wanted to hold a rally on July 21, and why not hold it any other date. When the lawyers appearing for the BJP said that the event was being organised to spread awareness on the development ushered in by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Court said that such an event can be held on any day. The matter will come up again for hearing tomorrow.

The TMC leadership is planning a major show of strength on July 21. For the past two years, the party had to hold the programme virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is the main speaker at the gathering every year. This year, particularly after the party’s victory in the 2021 Assembly polls, the TMC’s supporters are keen to listen to the party chairperson’s message for 2024 Lok Sabha polls, sources said.

Almost 48 hours before the event on Tuesday, the TMC’s supporters have started arriving in Kolkata from across the State. TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee visited several places in the city to oversee arrangements made for them, including stay, food and travel to the venue of the rally on Thursday.

Kolkata Police Commissioner Vineet Kumar Goyal also visited the venue of the rally in Kolkata’s Esplanade area, and supervised security arrangements for the public gathering.

Schools closed 

Considering that large crowds will arrive in the city on Thursday, several schools have decided to suspend classes on Thursday. School authorities said that the decision had been taken to avoid hassles for the students and their guardians. Traffic will be regulated in the city on Thursday in view of the massive gathering.

Along with the public meeting, the Chief Minister is likely to hold a meeting with party MPs. The State BJP leadership has alleged that the TMC is involving the State administrative machinery to make the meeting a success.

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