With Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah gearing up with nation-wide campaigns for the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the saffron party’s West Bengal cell gets infuriated after being denied access to use the Netaji Indoor stadium. Reportedly, BJP had plans to organise a meeting at the stadium in Kolkata, supposed to be chaired by Shah, scheduled to be held on September 10.
Stating that the party’s state branch sought for the availability of the stadium on August 25, WB BJP General Secretary, Sayantan Basu was quoted by DNA, saying, “We were told to meet them on August 28. On that day we were given a temporary confirmation of the booking and were asked to obtain an NOC from Kolkata Police but two days later we were told that the place was pre-booked for the entire month of September other than the days between September 27 and 30 that is during Durga Puja. Naturally we had to call off the proposed meeting because only a place like that could have accommodated about 12,000 senior members who the national president would have interacted with.”
And even as the authorities of the Netaji Indoor Stadium refused to comment on the matter, senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and the state Education Minister said, “The allegations levelled are baseless and completely unfounded. Neither the TMC nor the state government control Netaji Indoor Stadium. They have their own management body.”
However, this is not the first instance when the West Bengal government has been witnessed to have allegedly intervened against opposition parties seeking permission for venues in the state. Earlier, the government supposedly denied permission for the state-run Mahajati Sadan auditorium, where the RSS was planning to organise a meeting to be attended by the group’s chief Mohan Bhagwat. Amid heated reactions from the right-wing leaders, Tripura governor Tathagata Roy, in a series of tweets, hit out at the West Bengal government for deliberately stopping the meeting. However, TMC’s Jyotipriya Mullick clarified, “It has been clearly said that the auditorium would be shut for repair works for 10 days. The BJP is trying to kick up a controversy unnecessarily to malign the state government.”