Politicos from non-BJP parties are all set to attend the January 19 rally in Kolkata led by the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC), in a bid to channelise efforts towards dethroning the current BJP-ruled Centre in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
A senior TMC leader told ANI that former prime minister HD Devegowda, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Karnataka counterpart HD Kumaraswamy, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav would address the gathering, expected to be attended by lakhs of people.
The top TMC leader confirmed that though Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi decided to skip the rally, the party would be represented by senior Congress leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge and Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
Among those to be present at the rally include - Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president MK Stalin, National Conference supremo Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejaswi Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Satish Misra, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh and leader Jayant Chowdhury, former Union Finance minister and BJP dissident Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel, Opposition leader in Mizoram Lalduwahawma, former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Gegong Apang, former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, and Gujarat independent MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani.
Interestingly, BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha will also attend the anti-BJP rally on Saturday in Kolkata. Over the years, Sinha has been attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a number of issues.
Many leaders will be arriving on Friday in Kolkata for the #UnitedIndiaAtBrigade rally. Estimated four lakh people have already reached the capital city.
TMC chief Mamata Banerjee has been touring the country since the last one year in an effort to shore up a strong and united opposition front to fight the Lok Sabha elections against the BJP.
According to sources in the West Bengal Congress, the state unit of the party had wanted Rahul Gandhi and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to skip the rally and instead send a party leader. Also, the state leadership is believed to have told the party chief that Congress workers were ready to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections alone.
With BJP's recent electoral defeats in three states, Mamata has raised the pitch even higher to defeat the BJP and apparently playing an important role in fighting against the BJP in the 2019 general elections.