The Bharatiya Janata Party was compelled to call off a major rally planned for its chief Amit Shah here next week after the authorities at Netaji Indoor Stadium refused to grant

A couple of days later, on September 1, the trustee board of Mahajati Sadan, a popular auditorium in Kolkata, canceled the permission to the Sister Nivedita Mission Trust’s October 3 seminar where RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was to deliver the keynote address. According to organizers, Sister Nivedita Mission Trust — an NGO for underprivileged girls — had applied for the permission in May and was given the go-ahead. The state BJP leadership is exploring legal options to challenge both these decisions. Bengal BJP had sought the Netaji Indoor Stadium Authority’s permission on August 28 to hold the seminar. According to sources, when the state leaders called up the authorities, they were told the bookings could be done after they receive a formal letter.At least 12,000 party workers and supporters were expected to attend the program. However, the party had to cancel the event after the stadium authorities denied reservation for the said dates citing pre-booking for the entire month, except for September 27-30.

The development set off a slugfest, with the RSS’ official Twitter handle alleging that it was done to “appease jihadi elements”, but the TMC government said the booking was canceled over “safety and security reasons” as the auditorium would be under renovation and repair around that time.

Blaming the Bengal government for the denial of permission for the event, Sayantan Basu, general secretary of BJP, told Hindustan Times, “On August 30, we were told that the stadium was booked for the entire month except for the Durga Puja days on September 27-30.”  Kolkata Police said: “The reason for denial by Mahajati Sadan is the 10-day annual renovation during Puja holidays. The hall can’t be rented during this period.” Cops denied they turned down the permission. “There is no reason why it should be cancelled at the last moment. They had got the Governor’s nod…,” Basu said.

He further added that no other public hall was available for the event between September 10 and 13 in the capital city.

The Trinamool Congress soon retorted back at the charges made by BJP.

West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said, “Those incapable of filling the Netaji Indoor Stadium could only come up with such allegations. The state government has no role in it.”

On Tuesday, RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat’s event, that was scheduled to be held at state-run Mahajati Sadan Auditorium was canceled with authorities citing repair and restoration work as the reason for permit denial.

The event was scheduled to be held on October 3.

The authorities, while denying any ‘political pressure’ behind the cancellation of the event at the auditorium, said that the hall remains closed between September 6 to October 6 annually to undertake renovation work.


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