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Opposition rally in Kolkata: Crowd under 10 lakh, many leave mid-way

Mamata Banerjee spoke in front of a half-empty ground.

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Opposition rally in Kolkata: Crowd under 10 lakh, many leave mid-way
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Although a lot of hype had been created for several weeks over the turnout at the United India rally at Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata, the final crowd count failed to impress political pundits. Veteran political watchers said that although the turnout was impressive it was not a ‘historic’ one as TMC wanted. 

“The way it was being projected we were thinking that even the lanes adjoining the ground would be chocked but nothing of that sort happened. The gathering was under 10 lakh and nowhere near the 50 lakh mark which was projected. The capacity of Brigade Parade Ground is 3.5 lakh and it was surely full,” said a senior police official preferring anonymity.

Members of the audience had started leaving the ground mid-way in such big numbers that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had to intervene asking them to stay back. “No vehicles will leave before 4 pm. You people sit down and listen to all the leaders. Let them know how disciplined you are,” Mamata said.

Again as Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy was speaking, people, most from remote districts felt disconnected after hearing English and started leaving. Mamata, who was anchoring the event said, “There are 6-7 more speakers and then I will be speaking at the end.”

People who were leaving said they could not understand anything. “Some of the leaders are speaking in English which we have no clue about. Some are speaking in Tamil which is being translated in a strange way and there are some leaders who are speaking in Hindi but owing to age they are incomprehensible,” said Ramesh Kundu who had come from South 24 Parganas district and thought it would be profitable if he went to the bus and reserved a seat for himself.

While Mamata’s speech was still on, nearly half of the ground had left the venue.

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