Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s first major political rally Thursday after coming to power turned into a star-studded affair as celebrities, including popular film and television stars, hummed popular numbers and danced as thousands of supporters joined the event braving pouring rain.
From yesteryears` popular Bollywood hero Biswajit to Magsayay award-winning writer Mahasweta Devi, several leading film and television stars, singers, film directors, poets, painters, and other cultural czars of the state attended the rally at the sprawling but rain-soaked Brigade Parade ground.
Thousands of people joined the celebrities and political leaders for the event held to mark the death of 13 Congress workers in police firing on this day in 1993 during a Writers` Buildings (state secretariat) blockade agitation. It was also the `victory rally` to celebrate the routing of the Left Front government by the Trinamool Congress under the stewardship of Mamata Banerjee in this year`s assembly polls.
Former Tollywood leading ladies-turned lawmakers Debasree Roy and Shatabdi Roy danced to popular Rabindra Sangeet and modern songs, while singer Nachiketa enthralled the audience with his spontaneity. Banerjee joined the singer when he sang a song written by the her.
Banerjee who by now had taken the mantle of anchoring the show introduced the celebrities to the audience; one by one they came up and said a few words eulogising her. From past icon Biswajit to current heartthrob Dev to Chiranjit, Tapas Pal and Ranjit Mallick, all held sway in the show rendering songs from their movies amid thunderous applause.
`We have got a queen Midas whose touch will turn Bengal into gold. Have patience. Give us time,` said Chiranjit, now a Trinamool MLA.
Not to be left behind TV stars also came up the podium waving as the ever swelling crowd had a time of their life seeing so many stars in the same frame.
Painter Shuvaprasanna, poet Joy Goswami, eminent painter Jogen Chowdhury all had words of praise for Banerjee and wished and hoped the state will flourish under her rule.
`After long we have got an outstanding leader. We will carry Bengal on the road to progress under her leadership,` said Shuvaprasanna.
Banerjee took pains to felicitate all the eminent personalities including her party leaders by draping blue coloured scarves around their neck.
Octogenarian Jnanpith awardee Mahasweta Devi was brought on a wheel chair to the stage, with Banerjee herself lending a helping hand.
Addressing the huge gathering, Mahasweta Devi said: `I congratulate you for bringing in the change. We have got a new leader in Banerjee and I hope she will work for the people. I want that nobody should be illiterate. I want education in every village. Nobody should die of starvation.
I hope gone are the days when people died of hunger.`
The political `extravaganza` ended with Banerjee`s address amid rain and claps.