The anti-BJP opposition parties, led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, assembled on Saturday at Kolkata’s sprawling Brigade Parade Ground ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections to show their strength.Around 25 political parties, including Congress, participated in this mega Opposition rally against the Narendra Modi government.By organising this rally in Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee tried to display the unity and strength of anti-BJP forces in the country.
Addressing the rally, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the oppositon will work together to bring a new dawn for the country. Mamata, taking a swipe at the BJP government, said that the credibility of CBI has been destroyed as people listenened to her in rapt attention.
Neither Congress president Rahul Gandhi nor Sonia Gandhi attended this rally. However, Rahul Gandhi had deputed Mallikarjun Kharge to represent the Congress at the rally. The Congress, like all those attending this rally, wanted to convey the message that the Opposition is united against the Narendra Modi government and there are no differences among them. BSP supremo Mayawati also did not attend today’s rally. She had deputed her trusted lieutenant Satish Chandra Mishra to attend this rally.
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HIGHLIGHTS: Mamata Banerjee’s anti-BJP rally in Kolkata
3:40 pm: "Modi govt is past its expiry date and in the coming days, a new dawn will descend," says Mamata Banerjee.
3:30 pm: "Danga laga do, fasaad laga do, ek hi unka (BJP) issue hai, Hum Bengal main 'Rath Yatra' ke naam pe danga-fasaad nahi karne denge," says Mamata Banerjee.
3:12 pm: We will work together to bring a new dawn for the country: Mamata Banerjee
2:35 pm: "The upcoming general elections will be on the faith of restoring democracy in our country," Mallikarjun Kharge.
2:30 pm: "Your show of unity today is giving us hope. I congratulate @MamataOfficial for organising this meet," says Sharad Pawar.
02:14 pm: To tease us,they (BJP) say we have a lot of contenders for PM's post, we say people will decide who will become PM. As elections are approaching, you are forming alliance with CBI and ED while we are forming alliance with people of India: SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav at Opposition rally in Kolkata
2:00 pm: Modi-Shah will change Constituition if voted to power in 2019, says Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.
1:50 pm: BJP has been holding several meetings after SP-BSP alliance, says Akhilesh Yadav.
1:49 pm: "Jo baat Bengal se chalegi, woh desh mein dikhai degi," says Akhilesh Yadav.
1:45 pm: "Regional have the strong instinct to connect with the people and protect the interests of their States," says Chief Minister of Karnataka H D Kumaraswamy.
1:35 pm: Mahagathbandhan in UP aimed at ousting PM Modi, says BSP leader Satish Misra.
1:25 pm: "The BJP is lying to the people for votes. Unemployment is rising. Farmers, labourers, minorities, Dalits are being persecuted," says MP Satish Misra.
1:20 pm: "The upcoming general elections in May will be the second freedom struggle of the country," says M K Stalin.
1:00 pm: "The BJP is dividing people on the basis of religion. We must all come together to defeat the divisive forces," says former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Farooq Abdullah.
12:45 pm: Govt is destroying constitutional institutions, says Sharad Yadav.
12:30 pm: "Clouds are parting. A rainbow of political parties is forming. The time for a coalition has arrived," says Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
12:25 pm: "No other government has said so many lies. Never before were institutions undermined in this manner," says Arun Shourie.
12:20 pm: "What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow. Mamata Didi has shown it today," says RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary.
12:06 pm: The last four years have been testing times for Indian democracy, says former CM of Arunachal Pradesh Gegong Apang.
12:02 pm: The manner in which the country is run, is dangerous for the nation, says Hemant Soren.
12:00 pm: Hemant Soren begins his speech.
11:57 am: "The country is passing through an unprecedented crisis. All parties have to come together to defeat BJP and RSS," says Jignesh Mevani.
11:55 am: "Subhas babu lare the goro se, humko larna hai choro se," says Hardik Patel.
11:51 am: Hardik patel begins his speech at the rally.
11:15 am: Omar Abdullah arrives at the venue.
10:57 am: Mamata Banerjee arrives at Brigade Parade Ground.
10:35 am: Hope rally will send message of a united India, says Rahul Gandhi.
10:29 am: Buses to ferry TMC workers.
10:15 am: Lakhs of people have turned up at the rally.
10:05 am: AAP Chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal arrives for Mamata Banerjee's anti-BJP rally.
09:40 am: Key opposition leaders including SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav, DMK president MK Stalin, former prime minister Deve Gowda, and TDP Chief Chandrababu Naidu hold talks with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ahead of the mega rally
09:38 am: Members ofLepcha community at Kolkata's Brigade Parade Ground
09:25 am: People start assembling at Kolkata's Brigade Parade Ground
09:20 am: Kolkata Police deploys more than 10,000 personnel at the venue
09:10 am: Drones, CCTVs deployed at Kolkata's Brigade Parade Grounds
08:50 am: Rally likely to begin at 12 noon
08:05 am: "Only few hours to go for the historic 'United India Rally' at Brigade Parade Grounds. I welcome all national leaders, supporters and lakhs of people to participate in today's rally to pledge to build a stronger, progressive and united India," tweets Mamata
Only few hours to go for the historic 'United India Rally' at Brigade Parade Grounds. I welcome all national leaders, supporters and lakhs of people to participate in today's rally to pledge to build a stronger, progressive and united India #UnitedIndiaAtBrigade— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) January 19, 2019
08:00 am: Mamata Banerjee welcomes opposition leaders
Watch: Stage set for Opposition’s show of strength at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground today
(With PTI inputs)