Breaking all records of recent times, around 15 lakh people attended the Martyrs’ Day rally of Trinamool Congress, with another 10 lakh on their way when Mamata Banerjee started addressing the gathering.
Trinamool Congress supporters from every nook and corner of the state poured into the city to listen to the party’s chief after an overwhelming victory in the Assembly elections. Banerjee held more than 150 election campaigns ahead of the elections in all districts and single-handedly assured the victory of Trinamool Congress by 211 seats despite canards spread against the party by the Opposition and a section of media.
Lakhs of people who had started pouring into the city since Tuesday made it mandatory to be present at the Esplanade to pay homage to the Martyrs along with Banerjee.
The police had made an elaborate arrangement to assure that no untoward incident takes place during the rally. Senior police officers including deputy commissioners were on-duty at important junctions. Murlidhar Sharma, DC (South), and another assistant commissioner of police caught a 51-year-old man, Sk Rafique, against whom a woman had lodged a complaint alleging that the person had passed lewd comments on her at the intersection of Park Street and Jawaharlal Nehru Road.
Officers of the city police’s traffic department too performed well in maintaining the traffic as people had not faced much inconvenience to travel to their destinations. The reason being they had planned the diversions much ahead and executed the plan properly. Both south and north-bound vehicles were diverted through alternate roads and it helped commuters reach their respective destinations without facing any trouble.
Metro services were also helpful as many party supporters had availed the service to reach the venue while others to reach their offices.
People from all walks of life were found reaching the venue and unlike previous years no one created any trouble to go closer to the dais. At around 9 am people were found seated on the entire stretch of Chittaranjan Avenue and Jawaharlal Nehru Road. There was no space for people to move ahead.
When lakhs of people were listening to Banerjee, many were still waiting on Kona expressway and on major thoroughfares in the adjacent districts.
Braving the humid weather, people remained seated at the same place for hours till Banerjee continued addressing the gathering. Among them, some fell ill but they didn’t have to worry much as they were taken to hospital in ambulances, which were kept ready.
Banerjee had repeatedly urged the party supporters not to take any risk while returning home after the rally was over. Despite making them aware, a 19-year-old man, Masibul Chowdhury was killed after he had hit against Kidderpore Bridge when he was travelling on the roof of a bus while returning from the rally. He was a resident of Kakdwip in South 24-Parganas and was declared brought dead when taken to SSKM Hospital. All steps to help the victim’s nearest kin will be taken.