Kolkata, Jan 30 (IANS) Traffic in the city moved at a snail’s space as hundreds of thousands of people from across the state converged on the West Bengal capital for a massive rally of the ruling Trinamool Congress here Thursday — touted to be its “biggest ever”.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will kick off her party’s Lok Sabha election campaign from here.
Trinamool leaders, including Banerjee, have already issued apologies for the inconvenience caused by the rally which the party expects to be attended by lakhs of its supporters.
“Today’s rally is already a huge success as it has already broken all records of gathering of people in recent times,” Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy said.
With restrictions on roads leading to the venue coupled with steady streams of processions of Trinamool supporters making their way to the rally, officegoers had a torrid time due to traffic snarls and diversions.
“Most buses have been hired by the Trinamool to ferry its supporters. I have been waiting for over an hour but not a single bus is in sight,” said a daily commuter echoing problems of other commuters waiting in queues at bus stops since morning.
Holding aloft party flags, a sea of participants arrived at the Howrah and Sealdah railway stations.
Ferry services on the Hooghly, across Howrah station were suspended temporarily to avert any danger as a large number of people scrambled to avail the facility.
A long queue of buses for the rally were parked near the Salt Lake stadium, Burrabazar and Howrah — the stops for overnight stay of the rallyists. As many as 11 medical camps have been set up across the city.
Beside the address by Banerjee and several key party leaders, dance performances by actress and parliamentarian Satabdi Roy and party legislator Debashree Roy, and rendition of songs by Nachiketa and Indranil Sen are also on the cards.
A bunch of leading Bengali movie actors and actresses will lend the glamour quotient to the mega event conceived mostly as thanksgiving to the supporters for the Trinamool’s emphatic victory in the panchayat and municipal polls.
Besides, it also commemorates Martyrs Day – an event the party holds usually on July 21 every year in memory of 13 party workers killed during a demonstration in 1993.
Banerjee, now a regular on social networking site Facebook, urged her followers to join the rally which will be streamed live.