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Kolkata / Siliguri: The setback from the Assembly election results in five states has jolted the BJP hard in Bengal.

The party has called off a public rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that was to be held in Siliguri on 16 December. At least three more rallies by the PM that were to be held in other parts of the state after Siliguri one, too have become uncertain.

On record, the party state leadership, however, are saying that the meeting has been put on hold and not cancelled altogether.

The excuse that the BJP leaders here are giving is that since the dispute with Bengal government over the permission for rath yatras is likely to be sorted out on 14 December, hence, it is not possible to arrange the PM’s rally in a gap of just a day.

Curiously, a Calcutta High Court division bench order had made it certain on 7 December itself that the rath yatra dispute is unlikely to be resolved before 14 December and yet, the state BJP till yesterday night was firm on organising PM Modi’s rally in Siliguri.

Also, although the party has surveyed several public grounds for the now aborted rally, it has not finalised a venue nor has approached the administration for permission for a venue.

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh is, however, putting up a brave face and refused to admit that the party has called off the PM’s rally due to the setback in the Assembly polls in the five states.

“Trinamool has no reason to breath easy. The rath yatra will be held in Bengal and BJP will continue to fight against Trinamool trampling of democracy,” he said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is in Delhi for a meeting of the opposition parties, has said that the Assembly results have begun the countdown for the BJP’s ouster from the Centre.

“They are interference with the basic principles of the Construction and even attempting to overcast the Constitution. People are not taking this lightly and hence, have served this blow to BJP. All sections of the Indian society are unhappy with BJP and the wait is now only for the (Lok Sabha) polls. The countdown has begun,” she told reporters in Delhi this afternoon.