Spare the weekday commuter, slow down the weekend reveller. There’s nothing official about the new-found formula for traffic-stopper rallies, but the shift is beginning to show.
For gatherings small and middling, causes political and cultural, Sunday is steadily emerging as the rally day, causing far less disruption in the central business district than the weekday walks, but managing to hold up quite a few holiday hoppers.
“There has been a noticeable increase in the number of rallies on Sundays,” said a senior traffic department official. “The past few weeks’ schedule shows how Sunday is becoming a favourite for rallyists,” he added.
Take Sunday the 18th. Five meetings and rallies, stretching from Salt Lake to south Calcutta, held up traffic at one point or the other.
Up early were 3,500 DYFI marchers, who set off from New Alipore around 9 am and made their way through Tollygunge Circular Road, Jadavpur, Park Circus, Mullickbazar and Sealdah, before ending up on BT Road, six hours later.
They were out to spread the word about the DYFI state committee rally on February 15 — a Sunday, of course.
As morning gave way to noon, it was the turn of groups from Jatin Das Park, Hazra Road, Lower Circular Road, Circular Road and Howrah bridge to head for Shahid Minar to mark Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary.
The same venue later hosted 250 members of the Akhil Bharatiya Nepali Ekhtar Samaj.
Not far away, around 500 members of the Bihar Jana Parishad gathered at the base of the Gandhi statue on Mayo Road.
Further north, a cultural organisation, Tulika, took over Jagannath Lane, Masjidbari Lane and Beadon Street to celebrate its foundation day, with what else, but a rally.
Even Salt Lake did not escape the rush for weekend rallies. Alokyatra drew around 1,000 marchers and spread the message of eye donation in various parts of the township.
Though the procession stopped to spread awareness, special care was taken to avoid blocking roads.