Kolkata: Nine months after they lost in West Bengal, the CPM put on a show of strength with a huge rally in Kolkata on Sunday, with former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya saying it was bigger than any rally the party had held while in power.
The Trinamool Congress, however, hit back calling the rally a drama. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said that the CPM should shut up for 35 years.
The CPM says over 10 lakh people came to the rally. The police, however, did not venture a guess. But it's safe to that the rally was large and Mr Bhattacharya was left impressed.
"In response to our party's call, we have never had a rally as large as this ... the biggest meeting of our party," said Mr Bhattacharya.
This was the first major rally by the CPM after being ousted from power; but Ms Banerjee did not seem awed.
"Stop criticising and sit quiet. Don't talk. You can talk only after 35 years," Ms Banerjee hit back.
However, one barb from the CPM may have hit home, the one about Mamata calling the Kolkata rape a fabrication. The rape of a Kolkata woman was one of the main issues brought up by the CPM in the rally.
Ms Banerjee, before the arrest of three people in the case on Saturday, had said that the whole thing was fabricated.
"The Park Street incident ... Without finding out, the chief minister said nothing has happened. She should at least find out," Mr Bhattacharya said.
The Trinamool Congress, however, tried its best to turn the tables on the CPM.
We can't reply to all questions... No point countering everything they say. Before they criticise the chief minister, they should look inwards. The accused are accusing. Nothing funnier than that," Trinamool leader Partha Chatterjee said.
The CPM may be in fightback mode but Mrs Banerjee has a huge mandate as well.