New Delhi, News24 Bureau, Jan 18: Finally, it is the grand show of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's power and goodwill at the United Opposition Rally which, according to the West Bengal CM, will be a 'death knell' for the BJP.
It's Mahagathbandhan vs Modi at Mamata Banerjee's rally on Saturday. The Trinamool Congress is all geared up for tomorrow's "united opposition rally", which party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said would sound the "death knell" for the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha polls. The firebrand CM has an eye on Delhi.
More than 20 opposition parties' leaders are expected to attend the rally at the iconic Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata on Saturday to vow to put up a united fight against the "misrule" of the saffron party. The TMC hopes to use the rally as a platform to prop Banerjee as a leader who can "take along other parties" and challenge the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party after the general election.
On Thursday, Mamata Banerjee, the brain behind the rally said the regional parties would be the deciding factor in the Lok Sabha polls. "It will be a 'United India Rally' against the misrule of the BJP. It will sound the death knell for the BJP ... The saffron party's seat count in the general election will not cross 125. The number of seats the state parties will win will be much higher than that of the BJP's. "The federal parties, that is the regional parties, will be the deciding factor after the elections," said the firebrand leader.
Chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal, H D Kumaraswamy, N Chandrababu Naidu, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's (DMK) M K Stalin, besides dissident BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha are among those billed to attend the mega rally. Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and his party colleague Abhishek Manu Singhvi will also take part in the rally. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar, Rashtriya Lok Dal's (RLD) Ajit Singh, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha will also be present on the stage alongside the TMC supremo. Former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Gegong Apang, who quit the BJP on Tuesday, is also set to attend the meet.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and BSP supremo Mayawati will not be present. They have deputed senior party leaders to attend the programme. The three politicians had attended the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy last year.
According to state Congress sources, the party unit was not very keen on Kharge and Singhvi attending the rally as it would send a wrong message to its workers who are fighting against the TMC in West Bengal.
In an interesting development, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), along with the other Left parties, has decided to give the rally a miss. Asked to comment on Mayawati skipping the rally, Banerjee said BSP's "senior leader Satish Chandra Mishra will be attending, which is a big thing for us".