Here's why Mamata Banerjee chose Brigade Ground for mega rally
Kolkata's Brigade Parade Ground is all set to welcome politicians from across the country for Mamata Banerjee's rally. It isn't a mere coincidence that Trinamool Congress chose this particular ground, in the heart of the city, for the show of strength. The Brigade Parade ground is steeped in history and has seen the presence of Soviet leaders like Nikita Khrushchev and Nikolai Bulganin.
The ground was developed after Battle of Plassey
The sprawling venue is located in the backdrop of Victoria Memorial and was developed in the second half of the 18th century after the British won the Battle of Plassey. It hosted its first political rally in 1919 when braveheart Chittaranjan Das, along with other leaders, protested against the Rowlatt Act. After the country's independence, the ground has been used for various political rallies.
Leaders of Soviet Union were felicitated at the same ground
The venue found a place in history after hundreds arrived there on November 29, 1955, to witness a unique felicitation. India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru felicitated Soviet premier Nikolay Aleksandrovich Bulganin and First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Khrushchev at the Brigade ground. The then CM of West Bengal Bidhan Chandra Rao also attended the meet.
Mujibur Rahman and Indira Gandhi had also addressed crowd
In 1972, Bangladesh Prime Minister Mujibur Rahman and Indira Gandhi addressed a joint rally at the Brigade ground to celebrate the liberation of East Pakistan. An overwhelmed Rahman had shouted, Jai Bharat, Jai Bangla to express gratitude towards the sacrifices of Indian soldiers. Five years later, the Congress government fell in Centre (post Emergency) and the Left only got stronger in West Bengal.
The venue helped Left strengthen its anti-Congress stance
At the same ground, the Left, which ruled Bengal till 2011, put up its anti-Congress front. In January 1984, stalwarts like Jyoti Basu, NT Rama Rao, Ramakrishna Hegde, Farookh Abdullah, Chandra Shekhar, and Namboodiripad had addressed a rally to slam Congress. Nearly five years later, opposition parties held a rally against Rajiv Gandhi government. They focused on the Bofors scam and the raging corruption.
BJP's place has changed after years
In the opposition's rally, BJP founder Atal Bihari Vajpayee and CPI(M)'s Jyoti Basu raised hands to show camaraderie. Now, decades later history seems to be repeating itself. Mamata Didi, who has grown exponentially in politics since 1990s, has done the mammoth task of bringing several regional parties together. Is BJP shooting itself in the foot by dismissing the 'mahagathbandhan' this frequently?