BJP president Amit Shah is all set to land in Kolkata around noon on Saturday. The visit has been contentious ever since it was announced, with the BJP first claiming the police were not giving permission to the party to hold the national president’s public rally at the venue of its choice, and then anti-BJP posters and placards surfacing at the venue. A huge turnout is expected at the Amit Shah rally.
While the Kolkata Police did eventually give permission to the party to hold the rally at prime location of Mayo Road in central Kolkata, they said no drone cameras could be used.
The police said adequate security arrangements had been made for the rally, with deployment of 500 police personnel to maintain law and order. These personnel will be deployed at different corners, and they will also be responsible for traffic and periphery security.
Elucidating on the security arrangements for the rally, Additional Commissioner Supratim Sarkar said on Friday: “Elaborate security arrangements are being done… However, no drone cameras would be allowed in the rally. We have sent a mail to the central government and CRPF said that they also will not allow drone cameras due to security reasons.”
The crossing at Mayo Road remained closed to traffic after 1 pm on Friday to make preparations for the rally in which a huge turnout is expected.
An enormous influx from the districts is expected at entry points of Sealdah and Howrah.
Due to the programme, all Mayo Road-bound vehicles are expected to be diverted.
Officials from the traffic control room informed that tram services crossing through the area would remain suspended.
Dufferin Road along with Mayo Road will remain closed to traffic till the programme ends.
Vehicles plying through the Akashbani Bhawan will be diverted to Rani Rashmoni Avenue. Jawahar Lal Nehru Road-bound buses will have to be directed towards the north and then will have to come to Rani Rashmoni Avenue.
The security at Mayo Road has been stepped up.
The state BJP unit alleged that placards with messages like “BJP, leave Bengal” and “anti-Bengal BJP go back” were put up by Trinamool Congress cadres, a charge denied by the ruling party.
“This is a blatant attempt to stifle the Opposition by the autocratic TMC and it will face the consequences,” said BJP’s national general secretary and West Bengal observer Kailash Vijayvarigya.
Vijayvargiya said political courtesy demanded that Opposition’s democratic activities should not be suppressed but the TMC did not care for such democratic principles.
“When Hanuman visited Lanka as Ram’s messanger, Ravan humiliated him though Vibhishana argued that a messenger should be treated with courtesy. The consequence of Hanuman’s humiliation was the burning of Lanka from the fire that was set to his tail. Similarly, we are Narendra Modi’s messengers and TMC government will meet the fate of Ravan’s Lanka for humiliating us,” he said.
Meanwhile, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said TMC might cause huge trouble for the BJP supporters Saturday to stop them from reaching the rally point by putting up road block and agitations.
“TMC today called for observing a “black day” on the Assam NRC issue. This aims to obstruct the vehicles of the BJYM and BJP supporters, who will come to the city to participate in the rally. TMC has to face the consequences if they create any trouble,” said Ghosh.
On Thursday, a central BJP delegation comprising party’s national general secretaries Kailash Vijayvargiya and P Murlidhar Rao and other state leaders visited the venue of Shah’s rally and insisted on deployment of a drone for mass surveillance in view of the tent collapse incident at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Midnapore rally in June.
“From the security point of view, a drone is a necessity,” Vijayvargiya told reporters.
The BJP’s state unit had asked the Kolkata Police to grant permission to fly a drone during Shah’s upcoming rally. The saffron party, which has become wary after over 90 people were injured when a section of a tent caved in at Modi’s rally on 16 June, also urged police to allow the use of walkie-talkies by party workers at the gathering.