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Opposition rally in Kolkata: Crowd nowhere near the 50 lakh mark as projected, many left mid-way

The onlookers had started leaving the ground mid-way in such big numbers that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had to intervene asking them to stay back. "No vehicles will leave before 4 pm. You people sit down and listen to all the leaders. Let them know how disciplined you are," Mamata said.

After a massive build-up created for several weeks over the turnout at the United India rally at Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata, the final crowd count was far from what had been projected by the Trinamool Congress party and failed to impress the political veterans, reports DNA.

The over-hyped Brigade meeting has been making headlines for quite some time now, as TMC supremo along with leaders of the Congress, TDP, SP, RJD, NC and AAP are devising a united opposition to give a clarion call to oust the BJP-led NDA coalition government at the centre in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Veteran political observers said that although the turnout was impressive it was not a ‘historic’ one as TMC wanted.

“The way it was being projected we were thinking that even the lanes adjoining the ground would be chocked but nothing of that sort happened. The gathering was under 10 lakh and nowhere near the 50 lakh mark which was projected. The capacity of Brigade Parade Ground is 3.5 lakh and it was surely full,” said a senior police official preferring anonymity.

The onlookers had started leaving the ground mid-way in such big numbers that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had to intervene asking them to stay back. “No vehicles will leave before 4 pm. You people sit down and listen to all the leaders. Let them know how disciplined you are,” Mamata said.

People mostly coming from remote districts, felt disconnected as Karnataka CM, HD Kumaraswamy, started speaking in English and started leaving the ground.

People who were leaving said they could not understand anything. “Some of the leaders are speaking in English which we have no clue about. Some are speaking in Tamil which is being translated in a strange way and there are some leaders who are speaking in Hindi but owing to the age they are incomprehensible,” said Ramesh Kundu who had come from South 24 Parganas district.

Mamata, who was anchoring the event said, “There are 6-7 more speakers and then I will be speaking at the end.” But sadly while Mamata’s speech was still on nearly half the ground had left the venue.

Earlier Mamata Government in its animosity towards the BJP had refused to give permission to BJP’s Rath Yatra citing threats of ‘communal disharmony’ in the state.

BJP had planned three grand rallies from different parts in West Bengal, travelling across the state’s 42 parliamentary constituencies over one-and-a-half months to protest against the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress government.

After being denied permission the BJP resolute to create awareness decided to organise ‘padyatras’ instead.

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