All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen supremo Asaduddin Owaisi's first rally in Kolkata, scheduled to be held on Thursday, has been cancelled as the city police denied permission for it, party sources claimed.
Owaisi was scheduled to kick off his party's campaign ahead of the West Bengal assembly elections with the rally in the minority-dominated Metiabruz area of Kolkata.
AIMIM state secretary Zameerul Hasan said the police did not give them permission for the rally.
"We had applied 10 days ago for permission. But today we were informed by the police that they will not permit us to hold the rally. We can't be cowed down by such tactics of the ruling TMC. We will discuss and soon announce a fresh date for a programme," Hasan said.
AIMIM has already come up with posters for the planned programme.
The Kolkata police declined to comment on the matter.
The Trinamool Congress denied any involvement in the cancellation of the rally.
"We have no role in permitting a rally organised by the AIMIM which is nothing but a proxy of the BJP in Bengal," TMC MP Sougata Roy said.
Parties in West Bengal are apprehensive that political equations in the polarised state are set to witness significant changes as the sway of the non-Bharatiya Janata Party outfits over minorities appears to be set for a stiff challenge with the AIMIM entry, prominent Muslim leaders in the state claimed.
Owaisi, who after AIMIM's good performance in the 2020 Bihar assembly poll has announced that it will contest the Bengal election, has been discussing a possible alliance with Furfura Sharif cleric Abbas Siddiqui, who had recently floated the Indian Secular Front (ISF).
According to a senior leader of the Hyderabad-based party, Owaisi has seen in West Bengal, a fertile ground for his expansion plans, as Muslims constitute around 30 per cent of the state's population.
Elections to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly are likely to be held in April-May.