The Trinamool Congress on Monday continued with its protest against the arrest of Sports and Transport Minister Madan Mitra by the CBI in the Saradha case by holding a rally from Gostho Pal’s statue opposite Eden Gardens to Dorina Crossing and back.
Other than senior leaders like Partha Chatterjee and Arup Biswas, the rally was attended by sports personalities such as Dipendu Biswas, Shyam Thapa, Raghu Nandi and Tushar Sil. Accusing the CBI of bias, Chatterjee said: “The CBI is not neutral. It is working under the influence of the Centre, which is using it as a tool to finish the Trinamool politically.”
However, a good part of the rally — touted as a spontaneous reaction of sports lovers — comprised 50-odd women who had come from the districts and had no idea why the rally was being held. Pratima Bor (53) from Sonarpur said she was there because she had been asked to be a part of the rally by a local leader. “It is more of a ride to Kolkata to enjoy a pleasant winter evening. I don’t know what the protest is all about,” she said.
Jira Chowdhury said she had heard the name of Madan Mitra but had no idea who he was. “I am from Ghatakpukur at Bhangore in North-24 Parganas. I think Madan Mitra will give a speech here and also walk with us,” she said.
Umarani Panda, her neighbour, said she had come because she wanted visit Kolkata with Jira. As the rally progressed, Pushpa Das, a housewife above 50 years old chose to stay back. When asked, she said: “I have a severe pain in my legs, as I had tripped and fallen. I would not have come here if I had not been asked to.”
Among the crowd was one Tapasi Mondal, who described her participation as a paid holiday. “I work at a bheri in Sonarpur. My employer had arranged for all bheri workers to come to the rally and said that we would get our daily wage. So, it was fun,” she said.