The city’s famed Brigade Parade Ground is preparing for a massive public rally to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. This is his first visit to West Bengal since the state’s Assembly poll dates were announced last week, although he has already been here at least three times in the past few months. What could add glitz to the event is the possibility of popular actor Mithun Chakraborty joining in. Having been noncommittal when first asked about it yesterday, the party’s state in-charge Kailash Vijayavargiya later in the day met up with the star at his residence in the capital’s Belgachia locality.
“I have spoken with him (Mithun Chakraborty) over the telephone, he’s going to come today. I will be able to make a comment only after a detailed discussion with him,” Mr Vijayavargiya said later.
In any case, 70-year-old Mr Chakraborty won’t be the only one adorning the stage today, if BJP sources are to be believed. The event is also likely to feature many folk artists, ANI reported. Along with the 72-feet long main stage, two other stages have also been set up, one for Tollywood actors and another for other important personalities. The two other stages are 48-feet length, 24-feet width and 7-feet height.
Apart from Mr Vijayavargiya, other BJP functionaries supervising the rally include National Vice-President Mukul Roy, General Secretary Sanjay Singh, and Rajya Sabha Swapan Dasgupta.
Over 1,500 CCTV cameras have been installed across the city for security purposes. Drone cameras will also be used to monitor the venue. The rally is expected to be attended by at least 7 lakh people, sources told ANI. Three main barricades have been strategically placed toward the main stage for security purpose. Barricades and a helipad has been created at the Race Course near the Brigade Ground.
This is likely to be the first of the Prime Minister’s 20-odd rallies across the state in the run-up to the polls, BJP sources informed ANI. It comes a day after the party announced its first list of 57 candidates for the polls and two days after incumbent Trinamool Congress announced its own 291 candidates, leaving three for its ally Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
Elections to West Bengal’s 294-seat Assembly are scheduled to be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29 and the results will be declared on May 2.
After winning three seats in the 2016 Assembly election, the BJP had made deep inroads into the state by the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, winning 18 of the 42 seats and reducing Trinamool’s numbers to 22. The Congress won two while the Left got none.