Police insiders say party did not obtain no-objection certificate, went back on promise of keeping bike rally small affair

The two-wheeler rally organised by the city BJP unit yesterday, the eve of the scheduled arrival of senior party leader L K Advani's Jan Chetna Yatra, was held without the mandatory no-objection certificate (NOC), said sources in the police.

Show of strength: BJP MLA Girish Bapat surrounded by party workers
at the two-wheeler rally organised yesterday, the eve of the scheduled
arrival of senior eader LK Advani in the city. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

The rally was due to start from Kasba Ganapati and was supposed to have as many as 300 two-wheelers. A source said that the permission was denied in anticipation of the selected route being overcrowded for the designated time slot.  BJP MLA Girish Bapat said the party had complied with all requirements and even obtained the NOC(see box). Additional Commissioner of Police C G Kumbhar (North Region) said that the permission was sought for a motorcycle rally.

"We asked the MLA to reconsider the decision to avoid inconveniencing the citizens, which he agreed upon. The MLA had assured us that only four to five people from different parts of the city would be assembling at Alka Chowk to protest against the recent electricity fare hike. I had instructed my officer to keep bandobast at the necessary location," he said.

500 people
Police sources said instead of a small bunch of people, a crowd of nearly 500 people gathered around Kasba Ganapati, which resulted in massive traffic snarls in the area.

The other side
BJP MLA Girish Bapat claimed that the NOC had been procured. "We took the permission of the traffic department a day prior to our rally. However, police had suggested not to organise a mass rally that can create nuisance to the people. They (police) also suggested we ride 10 to 15 vehicles at a time and we cooperated with their request," he said.