Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah's scheduled rally in Jadavpur parliamentary constituency in Kolkata was called off on Monday after the West Bengal government, the saffron party claimed, denied him permission to land his helicopter and address a public meeting in the constituency. Accusing the West Bengal government of "replacing democracy with dictatorship", the BJP said the Election Commission has become a "mute spectator" to the state’s Trinamool Congress's alleged undemocratic means to target the party. The Trinamool Congress, however, rejected the allegations, claiming the BJP had cancelled the rally fearing a low turnout.
"The allegations are completely baseless. We have nothing to do with it. They themselves have cancelled the rally as they were afraid that the rally might turn out to be a flop show, "Trinamool Secretary General Partha Chatterjee said. According to BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, the South 24 Parganas district administration had unnecessarily delayed the permission to land Shah's chopper claiming that they were yet to get a clearance from the Public Works Department.
"The district magistrate has been acting as a party cadre of the TMC. They kept on denying us permission for Shah's chopper. Later, they also denied us permission to hold the rally. This is not only undemocratic but also shows the Trinamool’s authoritarian mindset," Vijayvargiya said. According to Bengal BJP sources, the BJP had planned to go ahead with the rally in Baruipur, which falls in Jadavpur constituency, despite the state government's denial of permission for the helicopter but the land owner, who had rented out his property for the meeting, withdrew his consent at the last minute. "It was due to pressure from TMC that the owner withdrew his consent," a state BJP leader said. Following the cancellation of the rally, clashes broke out between the workers of the two rival parties in Baruipur.