The Left Front today organised a rally at West Bengal’s Brigade ground where the leaders launched a blistering attack against both state and center governments. The rally is being seen as Left’s counter to Mamata Banerjee’s ‘United India’ rally which was organised on January 19. The ailing CPI (M) patriarch and former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee also attended Sunday's Left Front rally. Bhattacharjee, who arrived at the rally ground around 1.30 pm, was seen sitting inside his car along with his wife. The CPI(M) leader had been bed-ridden for the past several months due to Compulsory Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). "Buddhada joining the rally, even if it is for few minutes, will boost the morale of party cadres. He is the tallest leader of our party in Bengal. His popularity among the cadres is still unmatched," a senior CPI(M) leader said.
Earlier, there were speculations over ex-chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee attending the rally. "Although there is a huge demand for the former to address the event, he won't be present as he is not in good health," said a CPM leader. A message from Bhattacharya will be read out at the rally.
Describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a "chowkidar" (watchman), under whose watch loot and communalism were rampant in the country, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury sought the formation of an alternative democratic government at the Centre. "We have to defeat the Chowkidar Modi in the next elections. We don't need such a chowkidar, in whose presence loot is going on in the country. They have spread the poison of communalism across the country.
"The Centre, which has looted the country for past five years, is now doling out sops ahead of elections," Yechury said, while addressing a rally at Brigade Parade Ground here. The CPI(M) leader also said the country needs a change in policy for its overall development. "We are not calling for his (Modi's) defeat just because we don't like him, we are calling for a change so that there can be alternative polices. We have to fight for an alternative secular and democratic government at the Centre," he said.
Terming the Budget a "jumla", he said the people of this country "won't be fooled by his false promises". The veteran leader also attacked the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state, stating that the "saffron party and the Mamata Banerjee-led party were two sides of the same coin". "It is important to defeat the TMC in the state in order to defeat BJP at the Centre," he added.
The meeting was attended by senior Left leaders namely Sitaram Yechury, Biman Basu, Mohammed Salim and others. Former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar, who is facing a sedition charge, was scheduled to address the rally but cancelled his plans as he is unwell. Sources said lakhs of Left Front supporters from across West Bengal are coming to attend the event.
Earlier, there were reports that suggested that actor Shabana Azmi and Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh chief Prakash Ambedkar, a grandson of B R Ambedkar, may also attend the rally.