CM to hit Darjeeling streets today
The stage is set for Mamata Banerjee’s first-ever political march in the hills and thousands are expected to hit the streets in Darjeeling on Wednesday to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and a pan-India National Register of Citizens.
A day before the rally, the Queen of the Hills was abuzz with speculations on the turnout at the procession.
This is not the first rally against the NRC and the CAA by the Bengal chief minister. She had marched in Calcutta and other parts of the state. Besides, the chief minister is known to walk through the streets of Darjeeling during her visits to the hill town but she has never held a political march.
On Tuesday, Mamata walked from Richmond Hill, the guesthouse where she stays in Darjeeling, to Chowrasta. She walked down the Nehru Road and took a U-turn from Keventers through Roberston Road. The chief minister met a medical team which was administering polio drops to those children who had missed the vaccination drive on Sunday. She administered oral drops to a few children present in the area.
“The rally in Darjeeling tomorrow will be significant as it will prove the hill’s opposition to the NRC and the CAA unequivocally,” said a Trinamul leader.
The details of Mamata’s first political march in Darjeeling are as follows
⚫Starting point: From near Gorkha Rangamach Bhavan at Mall
⚫Route: Chowrasta Road-Robertson Road-Gandhi Road-D.B. Giri Road-Hill Cart Road
⚫Finishing point: Darjeeling Motor Stand
⚫Total distance: 4km, which is likely to be covered in an hour.
⚫Other events: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang is expected to read out an oath before the start of the rally. Mamata will address the crowd at the end of the procession.
⚫Expected turnout: 12,000 to 15,000 people, according to a senior administrative officials
⚫Traffic management: All vehicles carrying supporters have been asked to reach Darjeeling town by 10.30am.
⚫Crowd management: Organisers have decided to use two roads; one from Alice Villa area and the other from Chowrasta to control the initial rush.
“We will erect gates at various spots and release about 150-200 people every 30 seconds to ensure that there is no stampede during the initial rush,” said Rahul Pandey, DSP,(town), Darjeeling.
The basic objective is to avoid the initial rush along the Roberston Road stretch.
Political significance: The rally is likely to help the Binay Tamang faction of the Morcha politically as the group is the most vocal critics of the CAA/NRC exercise. The protest is likely to see the participation of other religious minority communities in the hills.