Mamata Banerjee scared of BJP rath yatra: Amit Shah

New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah, who was denied permission to hold a rally on Friday in West Bengal, fired a fresh salvo with his attack on Mamata Banerjee where he said that the Bengal CM was terrified with the idea of BJP cementing its place in the state.

“There is a reign of terror in Bengal. Mamata Banerjee is throttling democracy,” said Amit Shah.

Today’s rally from Cooch Behar was to be the first of three marches planned by the BJP to criss-cross the state ahead of next year’s general elections.

“We will definitely carry out all ‘yatra’, nobody can stop us,” Amit Shah said.

“Mamata Banerjee is strangling democracy in the state…. she is scared,” he said hours after the BJP challenged the court order that refused to allow the party to launch its much-publicised rally that was to be flagged off by BJP chief Amit Shah.

The single judge of the high court had gone by the government’s assessment that the march could go disturb the law and order situation in the state. The BJP’s appeal is to be heard by a two-judge bench.

“She is losing sleep over the BJP’s expansion in the state,” he said.

“I can understand her fear (of declining public support). But I have no solution for it… This is the public’s decision… to support the BJP,” Amit Shah said, delivering a sharp takedown of the Trinamool Congress government’s performance across sectors, right from education to public order.

“In a state where one used to hear Rabindra Sangeet earlier, now we hear bomb blasts,” he said.

The ‘rath yatra’ would have covered all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bengal – one of the few non-BJP states. The BJP leadership is focusing on West Bengal, which accounts for 42 Lok Sabha seats. Shah has set a target of winning at least 22 of these in 2019. The BJP currently has two Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal – Asansol and Darjeeling.

The other two BJP rallies are planned from Kakdwip – in the extreme southern part of the state – and Tarapith temple in Birbhum district.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi may address a rally in Kolkata after the two yatras end.

Similar marches, which are seen as an effort to expand the party’s footprint for the 2019 elections next year, were scheduled to begin in Gangasagar on December 9 and in Tarapith on December 14.

“I have gone to Bengal 23 times since 2014. There hasn’t been a communal riot after we went. The ones that happened at other times had been engineered by the police, the Trinamool Congress…,” Shah said.

“We are going to place the entire record before the high court today… What is the basis for the apprehension that there will be violence,” he said.

He also offered Mamata Banerjee some unsolicited advice.

“She didn’t ask for it… yet I will give her some advice… Stopping the BJP yatra will not help her but will only make people more angry,” he said, pledging the BJP’s commitment to change the regime in 2019 elections.