The most important voice of governance in Bengal — that of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee — told the state’s elected representatives on Thursday that no decision would be taken on the restriction of rallies till the matter was resolved in court.
“The government is awaiting the final decision that the court’s division bench is going to take,” said the chief minister, in response to a point raised by Trinamul Congress MLA Saugata Roy, about government inaction on that front. Only then would the government think of enacting a set of rules to rein in rallies, added Bhattacharjee.
The Opposition clamour over the death of Shabana Parveen on Canning Street, while being taken to Medical College and Hospital in October, and the government’s response to Justice Amitava Lala’s rein-rally ruling dominated Assembly proceedings.
Bhattacharjee, however, disclaimed that any death had been caused “because of rallies”.
The rally row led to an angry exchange between Bhattacharjee and mayor Subrata Mukherjee. Reacting to the Trinamul allegation that the government had consulted other parties only after deciding on its proposals to be submitted to the court, the chief minister said the mayor had been told everything.
“You did not turn up at an all-party meeting and I personally rang you up to tell you what was discussed and decided,” he told Mukherjee. The mayor, however, insisted that the state government had no right to decide which parks would host rallies, as they all fell under the civic body’s jurisdiction.