10 things to know ahead of Mamata Banerjee’s demonetisation rally in Lucknow
Lucknow woke up on Tuesday morning to rows of flags featuring West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her Uttar Pradesh counterpart, Akhilesh Yadav, ahead of a scheduled rally against the government’s scrapping of high-value banknotes.india Updated: Nov 29, 2016 12:19 IST
Lucknow woke up on Tuesday morning to rows of flags featuring West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her Uttar Pradesh counterpart, Akhilesh Yadav, ahead of a scheduled rally against the government’s scrapping of high-value banknotes.
Hundreds of flags and hoardings dot a two-kilometre- stretch between Kalidas Marg crossing where Akhilesh’s residence is and 1090 crossing—the spot for Mamata’s protest. The crossing is named after the state’s women’s safety helpline.
Mamata’s hoardings--showing her in the middle of a protest next to a slogan of ‘Notebandi vaapas lo (rollback demonetisation)’ -- occupied all the vantage points on a stretch that till Monday evening had only Akhilesh Yadav government’s achievements pasted all over them.
“Bhaiya ne Didi ke samman me intezaam kiya hai (Akhilesh Yadav has lent a helping hand to Mamata)”, said a political worker who was seen fastening an Akhilesh flag and two Trinamool Congress flags each on various posts at the crossroads near Akhilesh’s residence. He refused to identify the party he to which he was affiliated.
Mamata arrived in Lucknow on Monday evening. Akhilesh and two of his ministers received her at the airport and soon after called on her at the VVIP guest house, where Mamata is putting up.
Looking at the scene, an autorickshaw driver said: “It apparent Akhilesh Yadav’s supporters are managing Mamata’s rally. Isn’t it?”
The Trinamool chief has appeared as the face of the protests against the government’s move to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes three weeks ago – a decision opposition parties say has hit the poor and farmers.
Here are the ten things to know ahead of Mamata’s protest:
1) The bonhomie between Akhilesh and Mamata began when the UP chief minister attended her swearing-in ceremony in Kolkata earlier this year. The two greeted each other on Monday, just the same way when Akhilesh had called on Mamata in Kolkata--Akhilesh with folded hands, Mamata in response appeared to bless Akhilesh.
2) Mamata had visited Lucknow before but this is the first time she is holding such a well-organised show.
3) Akhilesh and Mamata are on the same page so far as demonetisation is concerned.
4) The spot of the Mamata’s event too is significant. The Samajwadi Party created Lohia Path where 1090 crossing - named by Akhilesh -- is located. It is from this stretch that Akhilesh launched his Vikas Rath campaign for the 2017 polls and addressed the first public meeting of his inaugural rath yatra. Mamata is the first prominent politician after Akhilesh to hold an event here.
5) Samajwadi Party vice-president Kiranmoy Nanda, SP sources say, has been instrumental in bringing Mamata’s protest to Lucknow. Kiranmoy Nanda, originally, is a West Bengal politician and had been a minister there for several terms. He is likely to join Mamata’s event.
6) Trinamool vice-president Mukul Roy on Monday said that his party invited several political parties, including the Samajwadi Party, to join hands with the TMC in this fight against demonetisation.
7) There have been indications that Akhilesh might join Mamata at the protest, but there has not been any confirmation from the party or the UP CM’s office. The CM, however, indicated his party might take part in the protest tomorrow.
8) Mamata told newspersons she urged major political parties to join hands with her to make the protests against demonetisation of currency notes a mass movement. “I am a ‘chhota’ leader. If everybody joins hands, it will become a mass public movement,” she had said. Mamata also said: “The PM has put the common man and the ‘dacoits’ in the same category on the issue of demonetisation.”
9) Some TMC office bearers have reached Lucknow to make the protest a success. Dr Jaymalya Ghar, who is from Bankura district of West Bengal, said she was confident that Banerjee would get support from the people of Lucknow.
10) All the flags have only Akhilesh’s profile picture and his party’s symbol--bicycle. There are no other hoardings, flags or banners showing any other SP leaders--be it the SP state chief Shivpal Yadav or the national president Mulayam Singh Yadav.