Tens of thousands of people from North 24 Parganas district marched to Kolkata on January 8, demanding an end to attacks on democracy, continuing attacks on women and all-round anarchy in the state. They also raised specific demands of the district. The rally, called by CPI(M) North 24 Parganas district committee turned into a mammoth one.
The rally was the culmination of an intensive campaign which included more than 40 public meetings throughout the district. Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury, Manik Sarkar, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Biman Basu, Suryakanta Misra were among speakers of those area-based meetings in November and December. CPI(M) activists went door to door with campaign materials for nearly two months.
On Wednesday, people started to gather from the morning at the Rani Rasmoni Road in Kolkata in buses, trains and even in boats decorated with red flags. But the most spectacular was the huge procession which started from Sealdah Railway station and marched through central Kolkata to the venue of the rally. It was a sea of red flags, declaring that the Left in Bengal is invincible. The entire area in Kolkata’s heartland was flooded with people.
Addressing the rally, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said that the state was being ruled by a party of criminals. The state has showed a dangerous decline in agriculture, industry, employment generation. The rule of law is absent.
On the coming Lok Sabha elections, Bhattacharjee said that Congress has been virtually out of the race even before the elections. Ten years of UPA rule has increased the misery of the people and now the people have turned away from the Congress. However, he cautioned against the BJP’s attempt to grab power at the centre. Narendra Modi is a deadly combination of RSS and corporates he said. In West Bengal, the people will not allow this dangerous force to get hold of, he added.
CPI(M) State Secretary Biman Basu called upon the people to mobilize in greater numbers to defeat the forces of authoritarianism. He said, the Left Front had accepted defeat in assembly elections with humility and allowed the TMC government to function without hindrance. But what they delivered is an all out attack on democracy. The time has come to resist this ugly force to save the state.
Ashoke Ghosh, veteran Forward Block leader, RSP leader Khiti Goswami, CPI leader Swapan Banerjee also addressed the gathering. As a mark of solidarity with the families of the martyrs who were killed during this period, financial help was handed over to the families of 50 martyrs.