For Mamata Banerjee’s Oath, Kolkata’s Famous Red Road Turns Blue, Sealed




Mamata Banerjee wants everyone to join celebrations when she takes oath as Chief Minister of West Bengal for a second time on 27 may Friday, and so a portion of Kolkata’s arterial Red Road has been closed to traffic for preparations. For five days.

Red Road – which connects important Kolkata addresses like Fort William where the Army is headquartered, the state assembly and the high court – is now being turned into a sea of blue and white, Mamata Banerjee’s favourite colours. A giant stage, situated on the road, will be air conditioned and will have three interconnected blocks.

Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress expects to host one lakh people at the ceremony, apart from about 200 dignitaries.

The venue for the oath ceremony, so far conducted at the governor’s residence or Raj Bhawan – which is also close to Red Road – has stirred a controversy over cost and traffic diversion.

“Red Road is recognized as the lifeline of Kolkata. So the lifeline is going to be closed for this, only for celebrations at the cost of the public exchequer. This is untenable,” said the Congress’s Adhir Choudhury.

For once, the BJP spoke the same language. The party’s Jay Prakash Mazumdar said, “Our state president yesterday said that there is a possibility of us organising a road block and observing a ‘black day,'” against the Red Road being sealed.

The Trinamool, however, says there will be no problems for the people as plans have been put in place to tackle the traffic diversion.

“All the arrangements by Kolkata Police are very nice. There is no problem for traffic control. Mamata Banerjee wants everyone to be a part of this historic event,” Trinamool Congress worker Kanwar Singh told NDTV, Mamata Banerjee has returned to power for a second straight term with a bigger majority than she had last time. She trampled upon the opposition, handing the Left its worst ever defeat.

The Left, which ruled Bengal for three decades, has also lost the Leader of Opposition post to the Congress, with which it had allied in this election.

The opinion on the street is divided too. While some feel the diversions are okay given that it’s a matter of just a few days others feel it should have been held at an indoor stadium to avoid inconvenience.