Kolkata, Jan 13: The BJP's proposed rally in West Bengal's Malda district scheduled to be addressed by union minister Nitin Gadkari, has been shifted to neighbouring South Dinajpur district, the party announced on Wednesday and blamed the Mamata Banerjee administration for denying permission for the rally.
Gadkari was slated to address the rally on January 18 in Malda, which on January 3 saw a protest turning violent resulting into an attack on the Kaliachak police station and torching of vehicles including those belonging to the Border Security Force (BSF).
A large number of people had gathered to protest against remarks allegedly made to "hurt religious sentiments" in Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP, which has been alleging the involvement of the ruling Trinamool Congress behind the violence, on Wednesday hit out at the state administration for denying permission to the rally.
"The state government has intentionally denied permission for the rally because it has many things to hide. The rally venue is far from the site of violence, there is no reason for denying the permission," said state BJP president Dilip Ghosh.
Ghosh said the Gadkari rally will now be held in South Dinajpur with the date remaining unchanged.
Police, however, claimed that permission for the rally was not granted due to failure of the party to submit requisite documents.
"The rally was to be organised at the District Sports Association (DSA) ground. Since they couldn't provide permission from the DSA for the use of their ground, we could not grant permission for the rally," said Malda's Additional Superintendent of Police Abhishek Modi.
The move comes two days after a BJP delegation on a fact-finding mission was prevented from proceeding to violence-hit Kaliachak on Monday.
While Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asserted the violence was not communal claiming it to be a struggle between locals and the BSF, the BJP has been alleging the involvement of the Trinamool and charging it with trying to distort evidence.
A BJP delegation led by general secretary and West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayavargiya on Tuesday met union Home Minister Rajnath Singh demanding a high-level inquiry into the violence.