The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Party prescribes pill for public
- On eve of Brigade spectacle, CPM issues guidelines to people

Calcutta, Jan. 7: For the last two weeks, a member of the CPM's North 24-Parganas secretariat has been taking pills to pull his soaring blood pressure down.

For party leaders across the state, there is no time to breathe till tomorrow's rally at Brigade Parade Grounds, which kicks off the CPM's campaign for the Assembly polls this year.

'My blood pressure has shot up. I have to attend five street-corner meetings every day and also ensure that the campaigns are organised smoothly. Only after tomorrow's rally, I will be able to relax,' the North 24-Parganas leader said.

CPM state secretary Anil Biswas, too, is busy gearing up for the big day. 'We are expecting a crowd of at least 10 lakh people. Our comrades have started arriving in the city tonight,' he said.

Sparing an afterthought for the public, Biswas said: 'There will be inconvenience for people, especially those who travel by local and long-distance trains. We advise those who will catch a flight or a train or have to take patients to hospitals to paste stickers on their vehicles and our processions will make way for them.'

However, people must start early if they are in a hurry, he added.

'This time, it is different than other rallies organised in the last five years. We have been asked to put in extra efforts,' a member of the party's Salt Lake local committee said.

According to party insiders, all district secretariat members have been given the responsibility of overseeing the rally preparations.

The state committee has issued circulars to local committees to organise door-to-door campaigning, general body meetings, processions and street-corner meetings. 'Even today, there was a series of processions and meetings,' a CPM leader said.

Many posters, banners and signboards in Bengali, Hindi and English ' most of them carrying the clarion call to bring the Left Front to power for the seventh time ' were supplied by the CPM state committee as well as the district and zonal bodies.

Party heavyweights like Biswas, Left Front chairman Biman Basu, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and MPs elected from the districts have left no stone unturned to make the rally a success.

In the run-up to D-Day, they have been huddled up holding meetings.

To ensure that campaigns were held simultaneously across the districts, specific dates and times were fixed for processions and rallies.

North 24-Parganas has been the most upbeat among all the districts about the rally.

'We are putting in a lot of effort. At the age of 74, I am attending two rallies a day apart from seeing the organisational nitty-gritties,' said Amitabha Basu, the district secretary.

The biggest procession to Brigade will be organised by the district. 'We are targeting two lakh marchers,' Basu said.

They will assemble at Salt Lake stadium at 11 in the morning and will set off for Brigade by noon. According to Basu, a fleet of 2,000 buses has been lined up to ferry the rallyists. Since the last week of December, more than 500 street-corner meetings and processions have been held in the district.

The local committees of North 24-Parganas have raised funds for banners, hoardings and other expenses. They will also supply food packets containing bread, vegetable curry and molasses to the rallyists.

South Calcutta is expected to be choc-a-block with processions. With the CPM's South 24-Parganas district planning to bring in more than a lakh people, the suburban trains will be spilling over.

Most of them, coming from Diamond Harbour, Canning, Kakdwip, Gosaba, Basanti and other places, will get down at Ballygunge and Sealdah stations and the processions will start from there.

Other large chunks of participants are expected from East and West Midnapore (1.5 lakh), Burdwan (1.3 lakh) and Howrah (1.5 lakh).

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