West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will address a virtual rally on July 21 to mark the martyrs' day, which the Trinamool Congress party has been organising every year since it came into being in 1998.
This year's 21st July was expected to be a mega event where Mamata Banerjee was expected to launch her campaign for West Bengal Assembly elections due in 2021. She is likely to kick off the campaign when she addresses the rally via Facebook at 2 pm.
Speaking after a virtual meeting with party leaders this afternoon, Ms Banerjee said, "We can't mark 21st July this time at the Maidan. But at 2 pm sharp on that day I will address everyone. People should gather at the booth level from 1 pm, about 30 people at each place. You will hoist flags, pay respects to the martyrs and from 2 to 3 pm, I will speak."
There are about 80,000 booths in Bengal. If 30 people gather at each booth, around 2.5 lakh people can participate.
This is the first time the Trinamool chief will use the virtual medium to address a rally. The BJP has already held six such rallies, the first by BJP leader Amit Shah. The BJP had claimed they had set up 70,000 television sets across Bengal so people could participate in Mr Shah's rally. Ms Banerjee had responded to the event, saying, "The Trinamool does not have that kind of money."
On the July 21 every year, Trinamool Congress traditionally holds a massive rally in Kolkata, attended by at least 5 lakh people from the city and the districts. Till a couple of years ago, the rally would be held at Victoria house in central Kolkata with people jamming the arterial Chowringhee Road for nearly one kilometre.
Ms Banerjee later decided to hold the rally at the Maidan, also called the Brigade Parade Ground, that can accommodate an estimated 10 lakh people.