Gadkari to boycott Bengal business summit, says state BJP

Mae Love
January 13, 2018

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called off its "Pratirodh Sankalp Abhigyan" bike rally on Swami Vivekananda's birth anniversary on Friday after alleged attacks on the participants by Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers in several areas of Kolkata.

Dutta later informed the court that his vehicle's windscreen and a sidescreen were smashed when 20 to 25 men near Mohammed Ali Park suddenly started throwing stones and glass bottles at it.

Ghosh described the Kolkata Police order as motivated and biased. "More than 10 workers of our party suffered severe injuries".

The claim about Gadkari reflects a BJP attempt to play victim and embarrass the state's ruling establishment by alleging a collapse of law and order. "Only President's Rule can bring back the rule of law in the state", he said. The BJP said its supporters were attacked several times on Friday, and some were seriously injured.

"TMC activists were attacked by the BJP". TMC and BJP workers allegedly clashed at Jorabagan, Pathuriaghata Street, Binani Bhawan, Central Avenue and outside state headquarters of the saffron party. They said this was because he can not inaugurate a road project - his "primary objective" behind the proposed Bengal trip - while the model code of conduct is in place for the January 29 by-elections to the Uluberia (Lok Sabha) and Noapara (Assembly) seats. Rallies with weapons were also taken out in other areas of Bengal with senior BJP leaders including Ghosh taking part in them. The court also directed the judicial magistrate and its special officer to jointly supervise the rally from January 15.

Told about the reason given by Gadkari's office for his likely cancellation of the trip, a state BJP politician said: "That's the official reason that Gadkari, as a Union cabinet minister, has to give to the state government".

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The BJP Yuva Morcha had made a decision to take out a bike rally across the state from January 11 to 18 as part of its Pratirodh Sankalp Abhiyan. "Their programmes are provocative", he said. The court, however, allowed organising the bike rally from January 15 after the state agreed to provide forces for protection from that day in the court.

"We know that the police have banned armed processions this year".

In the afternoon Mr Ghosh said, "We informed the our party's central leadership about the violent attack on our rally". However, on Wednesday, the Calcutta High Court rejected the Bengal government's objections to the event and allowed permission for a motorbike rally by BJP's youth wing in the state.

The union minister minister for road, transport and highways, who also holds the portfolio of ministries of shipping and water resources and river fevelopment and Ganga rejuvenation, was scheduled to attend the BGBS as a representative of the Modi government.

Sources in state BJP said that Ghosh spoke to BJP president Amit Shah soon after the incident and this eventually led to Gadkari backing out of the business summit.

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