Kolkata: The rally of West Bengal congress witnessed overflow of people in the public meeting at Rani Rashmoni Road. The party member not astonished but overwhelmed by such participation which was missing in past few years.
Congress rally organised here on Wednesday to expose alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal instead turned into a victory procession in the wake of the party’s triumph in three heartland states and an occasion to slam Mamata Banerjee.
For the first time in recent memory, the Bengal Congress managed to stage such a show-of-strength rally which brought traffic in and around Rani Rashmoni Avenue to a grinding halt on Wednesday afternoon.
The estimate of the crowd ranged from 50,000 (by Congress) to 10,000 (by police). The Congress workers gathered at Esplanade with green abir and fireworks. “I can’t remember the last time we had such a successful and spontaneous party programme,” said the Congress’s communications in-charge Amitabha Chakraborti.
The march had been scheduled as part of the Congress’s nation-wide campaign on the Rafale deal and alleged corruption and misrule of the Narendra Modi government.
But instead of targeting Modi, Congress leaders took on the Bengal chief minister.
“You (Mamata) will offer rosogolla to Congress leaders in Delhi, while arresting and attacking Congress leaders and workers in Bengal. The Congress is one and the same, in Delhi and in Bengal,” said the Congress’s Bengal minder Gaurav Gogoi.
“The Congress high command is well aware of Trinamul’s double standards,” he added.
State Congress chief Somen Mitra said: “Modi had called for a Congress-mukt Bharat. Didi, too, had called for reducing the Congress to a signboard in Bengal. But the results proved both wrong. Like it did there, the Congress vows to fight back in Bengal, alone if necessary.”
“Mamata wanted to become the face of the national Opposition. But now, after the Congress’s successes, Rahul is becoming the consensus leader in the Opposition space. This has hurt her very much,” he added.
Behrampore MP Adhir Chowdhury — a known Mamata-baiter — claimed that the chief minister wasn’t happy at all with the results. “Rahul Gandhi has won the elections. Mamata is not happy at all. In her statements, she did not give any credit to Rahul for the victories. She is talking about restoration of democracy in the country after murdering it herself in Bengal,” said the MP.
The Trinamul chief had congratulated the people of the three states for the victories on Tuesday, but didn’t mention Rahul’s name. From the dais, leaders of the beleaguered party sought to convey a message of unity, with Mitra and his predecessor Chowdhury holding hands for photo ops.
Others from the usually divided house were leader of the Opposition Abdul Mannan, former MP Deepa Dasmunsi, Alipurduar leader Deba Prasad Roy, Malda North MP Mausam Noor, Malda South MP Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury and Behrampore MLA Manoj Chakraborty.
Mitra, Chowdhury, Rajya Sabha member Pradip Bhattacharya, Mannan and others also attacked Mamata for allegedly aiding the growth of communal forces in Bengal, while asserting the party was preparing to fight her party in Bengal with as much fervour as the BJP across the nation.