Mamata in Delhi For Opposition Rally Today, Congress Attendance Uncertain as Kejriwal Plays Host
Opposition leaders from all the two dozen parties who had gathered at the Brigade Ground in Kolkata are expected to meet at a mega rally at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday, with only the Congress' presence not being confirmed yet.
File photo of Mamata Banerjee with Arvind Kejriwal. (PTI)
New Delhi: Three weeks after her mega mahagathbandhan rally in Kolkata, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee arrived in the national capital to join the protest by opposition leaders and take forward her attempts to forge a broad grand alliance to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Opposition leaders from all the two dozen parties who had gathered at the Brigade Ground in Kolkata are expected to meet at a mega rally at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday and seek to corner the Narendra Modi government on various issues. This time, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is the one playing host.
Before leaving for Delhi, Banerjee repeated what she had said at the Kolkata rally â€“ that Modiâ€™s expiry date is over.
"Narendra Modi knows he is not coming to power. Within 15 days, we will have election dates. The country wants a change, the country wants to see a united India, where democracy and inclusiveness will be sustained," she told reporters.
Aam Aadmi Partyâ€™s Delhi convenor Gopal Rai said that apart from Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar would attend the rally.
Leaders from the Samajwadi Party (SP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and other parties would also address the mega rally, he said.
Banerjee had indicated at plans for the opposition dharna when she called off her protest against the Centreâ€™s â€œmisuse of CBIâ€ in Kolkata earlier this month. She had said that while her dharna is over, she will take the fight to Delhi.
Only the presence of someone from the Congress is not confirmed. Asked if Congress president Rahul Gandhi would also attend the rally, Rai said an invite was sent to him, adding that the AAP had invited all the opposition leaders who had gathered in Kolkata last month. Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Mallikarjun Kharge had represented Congress at the January 19 rally.
There were talks of an alliance between the AAP and the Congress for the Lok Sabha polls in the national capital, but the local leadership of the latter is believed to be against it.
The AAP and the Congress have been bitter rivals in Delhi and Punjab.
Sources said with months to go for the general election, the rally would serve to bring the opposition leaders together in firming up a "Mahagathbandhan" (Grand Alliance) to challenge the BJP and its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners.
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