Abhishek to address rally in Tripura today
Kolkata: Abhishek Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) national general secretary, will address a rally in Tripura on Sunday though the police have refused permission for it.
The cops have asked the party to change the venue of a rally that he is scheduled to address, citing concerns over the "spread of Covid-19". However, TMC leaders said they would go ahead with the rally in front of Rabindra Shatabarshiki Bhawan in Agartala, since they had prior permission to hold an event there on October 28.
Moreover, allegedly, to prevent Banerjee from holding the rally, the permission of which was granted earlier, the Biplab Deb-led government issued fresh guidelines making Covid tests mandatory for people entering the north-eastern state from Bengal just a day before TMC's meeting.
Kunal Ghosh, the TMC general secretary in Bengal, confirmed Abhishek's arrival in Tripura while Sushmita Dev, the party's Rajya Sabha MP, has asked all its supporters to gather outside Rabindra Bhawan on Sunday to listen to Abhishek. "We will hold the meeting peacefully," she said.
The TMC on Saturday accused the Biplab Deb government in Tripura of making every effort to stop the party from expanding its base in the north-eastern state, dubbing the recent move to make COVID-19 tests mandatory for certain travellers a tactic to stonewall its campaigns. It needs a mention that Covid positive cases in Bengal stand at about 2 per cent. On Saturday afternoon, a large contingent of police led by senior officers arrived at the site where preparations were on for TMC's rally on Sunday.
Though police had permitted Trinamool to hold the rally, senior officials maintained that the permission would have to be withdrawn as it would cause a traffic snarl, and given the surge in Covid cases, approval will be withdrawn.
The police took away the cut-outs of Abhishek Banerjee and party supremo Mamata Banerjee and even dismantled the podium.
In protest, TMC leaders Kunal Ghosh, Sushmita Dev, Jaya Dutta, Sudip Raha and Subal Bhowmick along with other TMC leaders sat on the street and condemned the highhandedness of the Tripura police.
Ghosh said the police had given 15 conditions which the party had complied with to get the permission. Finally, approval was given that was later withdrawn on the ground that there would be a gathering of 10,000 people which might cause a rise in the number of Covid cases. He also stated that the BJP government in Tripura would be ousted in 2023.
"If @BJP4Tripura and @BjpBiplab put half the effort into governance that they do into keeping @AITC4Tripura out of the State, maybe Tripura's people would have had access to basic amenities by now. RT-PCR test or not, come 2023, BJP will definitely be out of the state," Ghosh tweeted.
Incidentally, the All India Trinamool Congress had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court on Friday against the Tripura government for continuous and sustained violence perpetrated by hooligans against various leaders.
Sushmita Dev on Friday also wrote a letter to Tripura Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya for his intervention to ensure law and order in the state claiming that the situation is extremely critical.
Meanwhile, Partha Chatterjee, the secretary-general of Trinamool Congress, said: "The behaviour of the Tripura government clearly shows that the BJP is scared of Abhishek Banerjee and TMC. They are trying to prevent Abhishek on one pretext or the other."
Tripura administration did not allow Abhishek to hold rallies in mid-September. Again prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC were promulgated that banned all political rallies till November 5. Earlier, BJP workers tried to prevent Abhishek from reaching Tripureshwari temple when he visited the state in September.
Trinamool has decided to contest the municipal election in Tripura in November. Ashis Das, BJP MLA who left the party in early October, is likely to join Trinamool Congress on Sunday. He had performed a 'yajna' at Kalighat and had shaved his head after resigning from the saffron party.