BJP president J.P. Nadda kickstarts party’s ‘parivartan yatra’ on ‘rath’ in Bengal

Published : February 06, 2021 22:17 IST

J.P. Nadda, BJP national president, inaugurates the party's parivartan yatra ahead of the Assembly election, at Nawadwip in Nadia on February 6. Photo: Ashok Bhaumik/PTI

Amid fears of political and communal tension, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) kickstarted its ‘Parivartan (change) Yatra’ on its ‘rath’ (chariot) on February 6 from Nabadwip in West Bengal’s Nadia district. The objective of the ‘yatra’, which is expected to take place all across the State, is to facilitate a ‘parivartan’ of government in the upcoming Assembly election.

Flagging off the yatra, BJP president J.P. Nadda said, “From here the parivartan yatra has begun. This parivartan is not just about a change in the government. It is also a change in the way of thinking.” Launching an attack on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress government in the State, he said the State government has “politicised the administration and the police, and has institutionalised corruption”. “In Bengal extortion, appeasement and totalitarianism are reigning. That is why the BJP decided that through the parivartan yatra it will mobilise the people of Bengal and tell them. But by the crowd I see before me, I feel that the people of Bengal are already mobilised and have made their decision,” said Nadda.

The BJP believes the new yatra will give a boost to its campaign in the upcoming Assembly election. Party vice president Ritesh Tiwari said, “The objective of this yatra is creating mass aware of Trinamool misrule. There will be a sabha in every Vidhan Sabha constituency, and a bigger rally in the Lok Sabha constituency. It is a programme to reach out to the people and explain to them that the BJP is the only solution.” Two more such yatras are expected to be flagged off by Home Minister Amit Shah later in the month.

The parivartan yatra has been at the centre of yet another round of bitter political exchanges between the BJP and the Trinamool. Reacting to the BJP’s allegation that the State government was not allowing the yatra to take place, the ruling party clarified on February 5 that the State government had not denied the BJP permission to take out any yatra; but the matter was sub judice due to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Calcutta High Court. Trinamool posted on social media: “GoWB has not denied permission to any Yatra, as claimed by @BJP4Bengal. They are indulging in malicious propaganda with neither substance nor truth. BJP must show material evidence of GoWB denying permission to their Yatra. This is BJP’s attempt to claim victimhood. A BJP functionary had sought permission from Chief Secy, whose office directed them to local authorities. Meanwhile, a PIL was also filed regarding the same in the High Court & the matter is now sub judice. We thereby clarify that AITC has nothing to do with this issue.”

The BJP leadership does not seem unhappy with the controversy surrounding the issue of “government permission” for the yatra. According to Joyprakash Majumdar, State vice president and head of the party’s political analysis department, “Trinamool, now realising that stopping the yatra would have been fatal for them politically, has to deny that they denied us permission for the yatra.” The ruling party, however, has dismissed the possibility of the BJP making any political gains from the new programme. Quoting Rabindranath Tagore, Trinamool Lok Sabha MP from Krishnanagar (in Nadia) Mahua Moitra told Frontline “Path bhabe ami deb rath bhabe ami / Murti bhabe ami deb haashe antarjami.” (Literal translation: The road thinks I am God, as does the chariot / The idol thinks I am God. God alone smiles). Mamatadi’s juggernaut will not stop in 2021, so Nadda ji is welcome to do all the rath yatras he wants.” State tourism minister Bratya Basu had said, “The people of West Bengal are wary of the BJP’s Ratha Yatra. The people of Bengal know that the Rath yatra alienates the lower castes, the Matuas, the Namashudra, the minorities.”

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