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In a major setback for the BJP, the Supreme Court on Tuesday did not give any relief to the BJP in its quest to hold a yatra in West Bengal and said it was upto to the West Bengal government to decide on the matter taking into consideration its views on the law and order front.

A bench led by the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that apprehension of violence by the state government was not unfounded. The court said the BJP can hold normal rallies with the approval of the state government. The SC was hearing a petition of the BJP challenging an order of the division bench of the Calcutta High Court, which had set aside a ruling of a single-judge bench allowing the procession.

In its last hearing, a bench of justices LN Rao and Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked the Mamata Banerjee-led government to respond to the petition. The state government has said that allowing the rally could invite law and order problems.

In its plea, the BJP has contended that authorities cannot abridge their right and they have a duty to facilitate them in exercising their democratic right.

The BJP also offered to submit a revised plan for its ‘Save Democracy Rally’ and the apex court asked the Bengal government to give its view on the new schedule.

The BJP rally planned to cover 42 parliamentary constituencies in Bengal ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

As per the original schedule, BJP president Amit Shah was to launch the yatra from Cooch Behar on December 7, Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas on December 9 and from Tarapith temple in Birbhum on December 14.

—India Legal Bureau

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