Commuters and families on a Sunday outing were in for an unpleasant surprise,with the CPM taking out a rally in a show of strength,with the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in mind.
The rally that started from the Chiria More crossing in North Kolkata around 9 am,ended in Tollygunge at 1.30 pm,bringing the city effectively to a standstill.
Thousands of CPM supporters organised smaller rallies towards the crossing,choking major thoroughfares in the city,including CR Avenue,SN Banerjee Road,CIT Road,Bentinck Street and APC Road throughout the afternoon. Important crossings,including the Park Circus-E M Bypass connector,the Shyambazar five-point crossing,Dorina crossing,Hazra and Tollygunge crossing were blocked for hours.
Hundreds of trucks,matadors,private buses and other vehicles packed with CPM supporters thronged to Chiria More,the starting point of the rally,from the morning. From there,the rally went towards Tallah Bridge,Shyambazar,Bidhan Sarani,Manicktolla,Sealdah,Mullickbazar,Park Circus,Hazra,Rashbihari crossing,before culminating in Tollygunge. I know people might be put at an inconvenience today. But we have received whole-hearted co-operation from the administration as well as the common people, said Biman Bose at the rally.
We had to create a number of diversions on the route the rally took,including Chiria More crossing,Shyambazar five-point crossing,Sealdah crossing,Anwar Shah Road crossing,S C Mukherjee Road crossing and Tollygunge. We had deputed a large number of our men on the streets, said Dilip Banerjee,Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic).
Traffic personnel had a tough time controlling the rally vehicles,many of which flouted traffic signals and drove on the wrong side of the road. I had planned an outing with my family,but now I am stuck. The rally took over half an hour to pass and then for the next couple of hours the streets were jammed, said Somnath Pramanik,a resident of North Kolkata who was stuck at the Shyambazar five-point crossing in the morning. The CPM has called for another mammoth rally in Brigade Parade grounds on February 8.