Kolkata: In a show of strength, West Bengal
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday led a massive procession
of Trinamool Congress supporters in an apparent answer to a
similar show by her predecessor Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in the
city four days ago.
Though Trinamool Congress said the procession was
undertaken to protest against a "slander campaign and
conspiracy by CPI(M) in collusion with some TV channels" to
undermine the state government, it was actually a show of
The chief minister, who joined the procession shortly
after her return from north Bengal, waved to the surging crowd
of party supporters who carried posters that warned CPI(M)
against launching `canards` against the government.
Bhattacharjee had during his February 29 procession
traversed a five-km distance in the city`s southern outskirts
in an open jeep and Mamata also did the likewise today
boarding a jeep accompanied by a multitude of cacophonous
She was accompanied by party leaders and ministers
like Commerce Minister Partha Chatterjee, Union minister Mukul
Roy, city Mayor Sovan Chatterjee and Subrata Bakshi, MP.
Blurring the divide between a chief minister and an
opposition leader, Banerjee led the Trinamool Congress
procession which looked like a celebration of election
The procession was also an attempt to shore up the
government and the party`s image in the wake of a series of
rape incidents and political violence rocking the state.
The state government`s image had taken a further hit
when state Governor M K Narayanan said "Bengal used to be one
of the safest places in the country."
Not to be outdone, CPI(M) also brought out a big
procession at Baguihati in North 24-Parganas district to
protest against "police harassment" of party workers,
particularly chairman of CPI(M)-controlled Rajarhat
municipality Tapas Chatterjee during February 28 general
Both the processions caused massive traffic snarls
as daily commuters went through a harrowing time getting back
home from work.