After four extra hours, several hiccups and a strong dose of suspense, Yogi Adityanath's rally got underway in Bengal's Purulia, where a huge crowd had been waiting since morning. Uncertainty hung over the rally till the last minute, with the local administration officials claiming holes in the paperwork. But with the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister -- seen as the biggest mascot of the BJP after Prime Minister Narendra Modi - on way, the BJP was not ready to back down.
To pre-empt a debacle like Sunday -- when his chopper was not allowed to land for a rally in north Bengal and he had to address the people on cellphone -- Yogi Adityanath had taken the road to Purulia. Landing at Bokaro in BJP-ruled Jharkhand, he drove the 50-odd km to the venue.
To his audience, Yogi Adityanath said he was not given permission to land in Purulia and it was time the "undemocratic government" was on its way out.
The BJP - which is targeting 22 of Bengal's 42 seats -- has complained to the Election Commission saying the Mamata Banerjee government was creating hurdles for party campaigns in the state.
Last month, permission was denied for BJP chief Amit Shah's chopper landing in Malda. The BJP's plan to hold three rath yatras in the state also got scuttled, with the state's refusal of permission being upheld by the Supreme Court.
Mamata Banerjee -- who has been on a sit-in protest in Kolkata that has drawn together the opposition - had sounded irate about the visit of her Uttar Pradesh counterpart. "Ask Yogi to take care of Uttar Pradesh first. So many people have been killed, even the police were murdered...so many people were lynched," she said.
But Yogi Adityanath had also struck deep, citing the controversial government order on Durga Puja immersion that had raised public anger.
"The Bengalis are stopped from praying to goddess Durga... There are no restrictions on festivals in Uttar Pradesh... Vivekananda had told Hindus to proudly say that they're Hindus. Bengal gave Jana Gana Mana to the nation, it gave Vande Matram to the nation... Syamaprasad Mookerjee was a Bengali," he told his audience in Purulia.
For two consecutive years, the government had put restriction on immersion timings saying it would otherwise clash with Moharram processions. Last year, in what was seen as a conciliatory measure, the government had decided to give a Rs 10,000 grant to 28,000 puja committees.