As poll-bound West Bengal is reeling under scorching heat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to further raise the political temperature through his speech from the iconic Brigade Parade ground on Sunday March 7.
It is likely that Modi will not leave any stone unturned from Brigade to take on his fiercest critics Mamata Banerjee considering the crucial the assembly elections in Bengal.
As party’s strategy, BJP in Bengal (too) has not yet declared their chief ministerial candidate and are contesting one of their toughest battles in the state keeping PM Modi in the front.
Known as ‘lung of Kolkata’ (due to greenery which helps city in reducing air pollution), Brigade Parade ground is considered as a place of ‘political pilgrimage’ for all the parties considering the political bench mark the mega ground has set since 1919 when freedom fighter and founder of ‘Swaraj Party’ Chittaranjan Das hosted one of its first political meetings against the Rowlatt Act.
Since then decades have passed and so do the patterns of political leadership in India but one thing remains unchanged and that is West Bengal where political leadership was always ‘anti-centre’ (barring a few rare bonhomies between the State and the Centre) since Independence.
Political experts believe that, this is one of the key reasons why BJP is desperate to make inroads in Bengal to fulfil their vision ‘Purvodaya’ (Rising East) and PM Modi’s mega public meet at Brigade Parade on Sunday could be crucial for BJP in gaining momentum for an impressive show ahead during the poll.
There are speculations that actor Mithun Chakraborty and many important TMC leaders who didn’t get ticket to contest the poll may share the dais with PM Modi at Brigade. Names of former TMC Rajya Sabha MP Dinesh Trivedi and Jatu Lahiri were added to the long list of TMC defectors, as both the leaders also joined the saffron brigade on Saturday.
Not the least, there is a rumour that cricketer Sourav Ganguly may join BJP in presence of PM Modi. Many times before the media, Sourav maintained that he is not interested in politics and his meetings with some of the heavyweight BJP leaders in recent past are purely apolitical.
The former Indian cricket team captain suffered a mild heart attack and underwent angioplasty. He was discharged from the hospital on January 31.
In the context of Sourav Ganguly joining BJP, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh had said, “There was no discussion regarding this. I have no idea.” Meanwhile, BJP leaders claimed that they are expecting more than seven lakh supporters in the rally.
Already, the security agencies from the Centre and Kolkata Police have turned the area around Brigade Parade ground into a fortress considering the PM’s security.
The Special Protection Group (SPG) officials in assistance with the Kolkata Police have put up a four-layered security cover in front of the podium from where PM Modi is scheduled to address the gathering.
There will be two more stages for local BJP leaders and another for the media persons. There will be a crowd monitoring and management control room behind the main stage for smooth entry and exit of all the attendees in the meeting. More than 1,500 CCTV cameras were installed in and around the Brigade Parade Ground for security reasons.
There will be restrictions in the normal traffic services in all the major stretches near JL Nehru Road, SN Banerjee Road, Dorina Crossing, Central Avenue, MG Road, Khidirpur, AJC Bose Road, Hastings and Park Street.
The entry for outside goods vehicles in Kolkata will be restricted till 8 pm on March 7 and there will be no movements of trams near the Brigade Parade Ground area during the rally.
The Assembly Elections will take place in eight phases in West Bengal, beginning from March 27 and the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. The party also released its list of 57 candidates on Saturday evening.