More than a million people marched in to Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata on Sunday, February 9, braving all odds and attacks on their way, in a massive show of determination to fight authoritarianism. In the biggest rally in at least last two decades, Left Front leaders called for widest possible mass mobilisation to fight for restoration of democracy in West Bengal and for an alternative government at the Centre after the Lok Sabha elections.
Brigade Parade Ground witnessed three gatherings within a span of nine days. The first one by ruling TMC was an extravagant show of governmental machinery, the second one by BJP with Narendra Modi as speaker was less than moderate by Kolkata standards. Sunday’s rally of the Left broke the barriers of all expectations and surpassed the previous ones. While tens of thousands could not reach the venue due to attacks by TMC goons, the sprawling ground was full to capacity and an area of 5 square kilometres was flooded with people and red flags. The entire rally was full of energy and roared from time to time whenever there were calls of resistance to terror.
Addressing the rally, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said that the country needs an alternative government on the basis of alternative policies. Karat hit out at Narendra Modi, saying electing the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in the forthcoming general elections “would mean encouraging unbound corporate capital and communalism in the country”. He said, “When the elections will be held, then Modi and BJP will come to know where they stand in Odisha, Bihar, Tamilnadu, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka”. Karat said Modi at a rally spoke against the Third Front, he is still in first grade and we, who are part of the Third Front, are a grade above him.
Karat also accused Mamata Banerjee of hobnobbing with the BJP. “Modi at his rally welcomed Mamata. First she was with BJP, then with Congress and now again it is her turn to tie-up with BJP,” said Karat. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said we would not allow terror to advance an inch further. Biman Basu called upon the democratic people to come forward and resist anti-socials encouraged by the ruling party.
February 10, 2014