Scores of microphones have been put up on the Maidan. A Telegraph picture
The Trinamul Congress aims to herd 20 lakh supporters to the heart of Calcutta on Thursday to flex its muscles in an election year. That virtually means a mini bandh with large parts of the city likely to be closed to traffic from the morning in the middle of the working week. Mamata Banerjee’s clarion call for the event? “Brigade Chalo, Bangla Garho (Onward to Brigade to build Bengal)”. But for those wondering how appropriate a traffic-stopper midweek rally is to help ‘build Bengal’, the chief minister issued an apology. “The annual July 21 rally could not be held on schedule because of the panchayat polls and inclement weather…. In principle, we are opposed to holding rallies on weekdays but this time we have been forced to hold one. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to the people,” she said. Party general secretary Mukul Roy said: “The daily commuters would be affected because of the rally, that is why we are apologising for the inconvenience. The rally has a historic significance. Mamata Banerjee will spell out the party’s vision for the next Lok Sabha polls.” Metro explores the figures and facts of the traffic-stopper rally.
WHERE: Brigade Parade Grounds on the Maidan.
WHAT: A mega Mamata Banerjee show. Originally conceived as a thanksgiving for supporters for the resounding victory in the panchayat and municipal polls, the rally is now billed as a royal kick-off for the Lok Sabha polls.
WHEN: From noon to around 2.30pm.
The chief minister is expected to take the stage between 12.30pm and 1pm. Her speech is expected around 1.30pm.
Added attractions: Dance by MP Satabdi Roy and MLA Debasree Roy. Nachiketa and Indranil Sen to sing. Tolly brigade likely to turn up in full force.
Turnout target: 20 lakh!
BRIGADE Capacity: 4.5 lakh on the ground and another 2 lakh in the adjoining areas.
Spill-over effect: Will be felt over several kilometres around the rally venue.
Disruption begins: The first processions are likely to start as early as 8am. Those from the districts arriving at Howrah and Sealdah may turn up even earlier.
Traffic trauma: Likely to continue till the evening.
Roads to avoid: Police say any road may be closed to traffic if it falls on a procession’s route.
Rally Roads: There will be multiple processions originating from across the city and head for the Maidan, from Howrah, Sealdah, Shyambazar, Salt Lake, Kidderpore…
| Satabdi Roy rehearses for Thursday’s show. Picture by Sanjoy Ghosh
Lalbazar control room number: 100, 22143230
Police sources apprehend that all major thoroughfares will be blocked.
Tents/assistance booths: At Howrah and Sealdah stations for supporters taking local trains to reach Calcutta.
Many have tweaked schedules to spare children the traffic torment; some haven’t
La Martiniere for Girls: No classes for lower and upper nursery, KG to Class V will give over at 11am; for seniors it’s normal school timing.
St. James’ School will give over at 10.15am for juniors and at 10.30am for seniors.
Mahadevi Birla World Academy at 12.30pm.
Calcutta Boys’ School at 10.30am and 10.45am.
Lakshmipat Singhania Academy at 1pm.
Delhi Public School Ruby Park, pre primary is closed, Classes I to V will give over at noon, Classes VI to XI at 1pm and Class XII will have their board practical exam as scheduled.
Usual timing but parents’ discretion
Birla High School for Boys, Sushila Birla Girls’ School, Ballygunge Shiksha Sadan, South City International School will have normal classes but parents can decide depending on the situation.
Apeejay School Park Street and Salt Lake, Delhi Public School New Town.
| Mamata Banerjee inspects the rally venue on Wednesday evening. A Telegraph picture
La Martiniere for Boys, Classes VI to XII of La Martiniere for Girls, Modern High School for Girls, South Point High School, The Heritage School.
KOLKATA LITERARY MEET
On Thursday, all sessions from 2pm will be held at the Western Quadrangle of Victoria Memorial Hall and not under the Shamiana near the East Gate. KLM visitors will be allowed to enter Victoria Memorial through all gates, though East Gate is the preferred one. Some of the sessions might run late due to traffic delays.
150,000: Trinamul supporters from north Bengal staying at Salt Lake stadium will start around 9am and march through Beleghata, Sealdah, SN Banerjee Road and Chowringhee Road. Another 30,000 from north Bengal are expected to reach the city on Thursday morning.
2,380: Buses and lorries will head to Calcutta with Trinamul supporters from North 24-Parganas alone.
2,557: Buses and lorries will come from Hooghly.
200: Giant screens have been set up across Calcutta to beam the show live. Another 19 screens will be at the Brigade Parade Grounds.
70 guesthouses, 30 godowns: Booked in Chitpore, Burrabazar and Girish Park areas to house supporters on Wednesday night.
35 buses, 10 trucks: Stationed at Kolkata station to ferry supporters to the lodges.
22 buses: At Sealdah for supporters.
8: Technical team members to givelive update of the rally on Twitter andother social networking sites.
3: Special trains to bring supporters from north Bengal.
3: Ambulances on standby at Durgapur Expressway for an emergency.