"How's The Khauf?" BJP Pokes Mamata Banerjee Over Yogi Adityanath Rally

 

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, denied permission to hold rallies in West Bengal last Sunday, will visit the state again this afternoon to address a public gathering in Purulia, around 300 km from Kolkata. This time, he plans to travel partly by road.

Hours before his visit, the BJP posted a sarcastic tweet inspired by a catch-phrase from the blockbuster "Uri": "How's the khauf (fear)?"

On Sunday, the UP chief minister was to address a "Ganatantra Bachao Rally (save the republic)" at Balurghat in South Dinajpur district, more than 400 km from Kolkata. He couldn't make it, because a chopper-landing near the venue was not allowed. Yogi Adityanath's office said permission was withheld "without any prior notice".

So he addressed the rally on the phone.

In his speech, he called for the leaders who had attended Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's January 19 opposition rally to introspect on how "democratic rights were being scuttled" by the state government.

The UP government hasn't commented officially on the logistics of Yogi Adityanath's Bengal visit today, but sources have told the media he will fly to Jharkhand capital Ranchi - a BJP-ruled state - and then proceed in a helicopter to the state's Bokaro district. From Bokaro, Yogi Adityanath is likely to travel by road to Purulia, which is near the border with Jharkhand.

The Bengal government's decision to refuse permission to Yogi Adityanath's chopper snowballed into a major controversy with dramatic developments later in the day. A CBI team tried to question Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in a chit fund scam the same evening. The CBI officers were blocked and detained by the police. Later, Mamata Banerjee launched a protest accusing the central government of using the CBI for political vendetta against her administration. Her protest "satyagraha" continues.

"Mamata Banerjee's unconstitutional and unethical actions indicates that democracy is under threat in West Bengal.  This atmosphere and situation is very unfortunate," said the BJP's Siddharth Nath Singh, a minister in Yogi Adityanath's cabinet.

Earlier this month, the Trinamool government denied permission to the chopper of Amit Shah on grounds that facilities were inadequate at the Malda airstrip where the BJP president was to address a rally. Mr Shah was forced to opt for a private helipad around the area.