Kolkata: The West Bengal Kisan Sabha and Agricultural Workers Union plans to take out three different rallies replicating the Maharashtra Long March. The long march was organised by the All India Kisan Sabha earlier this year, the peasant’s wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

According to Amiya Patra, a member of the Kisan Sabha and the secretary of the state unit of the Agricultural Workers Union, three rallies will head towards Kolkata from Singur, Coochbehar and Plassey. “Nothing has yet been finalised but we plan to organize the Singur rally by next month," Patra said.

During the same time, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plans to organize rathyatras or chariot rallies. Each of the three rallies is supposed to be flagged off by party president Amit Shah. A concluding event in Kolkata is expected to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The erosion in the vote share of the left parties is evident from the results of the last few elections. The BJP has made major inroads into former left bastions of rural Bengal.

According to Shawm Panda, a CPI(M) leader from Salboni block in West Midnapore, people have lost faith in the Left leadership. “Most people believe that only BJP can stand up against the atrocities of the TMC," Panda added.

Mass rallies organised by the Bengal Platform of Mass Organisation, a forum for left bodies, received major response in villages and semi-urban areas, according to a CPI(M) central committee member. “We want to hit the roads again before this response wears out," this leader said on condition of anonymity.

The turnout at Shaheed Minar in Kolkata where the rallies converged was lukewarm, the person added.

The details of the rallies will be decided at a Kisan Sabha meeting on October 27. The first rally will flag off by the end of November.

Singur, for obvious reasons, is the first choice for a rally to be led by farmers, according to Patra. The state has returned the land for the Tata factory to the owners. However, the land is still uncultivable according to Patra. “The plight of the farmers is unfortunate since they can neither plough their fields nor get the factory back." Loan waivers and provision for minimum fair price will also be in the list of demands.

Surjya Kanta Mishra, state secretary of the party, had previously said the rathyatras to be organised by the BJP was intended to fuel communal polarisation. “Our members will have to resist communal inroads," Mishra had said.

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