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HIGHLIGHTS | Mamata Banerjee ends Opposition unity rally with chants of Vande Mataram

Mamata Banerjee’s mega Kolkata rally:TMC’s mega rally at the historic Brigade Parade ground in Kolkata virtually kick-started the opposition’s campaign ahead of the upcoming general election.

By Avijit Ghosal | Jan 19, 2019 19:59 IST

TMC’s mega rally is underway at the historic Brigade Parade ground in Kolkata, that would virtually kick-start the opposition’s campaign ahead of the coming general election.

Convened by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who is aiming to project herself as the face of the opposition, the rally at noon is being attended by the who’s who of Indian politics -- a former prime minister, several current and former chief ministers and stalwarts from various political outfits from across the country.

Also Read | ‘Country waiting for new prime minister’: Akhilesh Yadav before mega Opposition rally in Kolkata

More than 20 national leaders, including former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha and Arun Shourie; three present chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal, Chandrababu Naidu and H D Kumaraswamy; and former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Akhilesh Yadav and Gegong Apang attended the meeting.

Also Watch |  If speaking truth is rebellion then I am a rebel, says Shatrughan Sinha

While Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi have given the rally a miss, they have deputed senior party functionary and leader of the party in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.

Here are the HIGHLIGHTS:

3:52 pm IST

Leaders to now attend tea party in Alipore

The opposition leaders will now attend a tea party in Alipore in south Kolkata.

3:45 pm IST

Haven’t seen anyone run a country in a such a fascist manner: Mamata

“Haven’t seen anyone run a country in a such a fascist manner,” said Mamata Banerjee, while ending her speech with “BJP hatao, desh bachao and Jai Hindh, Vande mataram” chant.

3:41 pm IST

Modi unable to take everyone along: Mamata Banerjee

“Modi is unable to take everyone along. One who can’t take everyone along, can’t be a leader. This is the beginning of BJP’s end,” said Mamata Banerjee.

3:37 pm IST

No more ‘acche din’ for BJP: Mamata

“The people have already made their minds, acche din (good days) not going to come back for BJP,” said Mamata Banerjee.

3:35 pm IST

Won’t allow riots in the name of rath yatra: Mamata

“We believe in lord Jagannath’s rath yatra. What is your rath? We will not allow you to engineer riots in Bengal. We won’t allow riots in the name of rath yatra,” said Mamata Banerjee at mega opposition rally.

3:32 pm IST

BJP humiliated every institution: Mamata

“They humiliated CBI, ED, RBI. They undermined banks. Remember, if you vote BJP to power this time, you won’t get any of your money back,” said Mamata Banerjee.

3:31 pm IST

Everybody’s a leader in our ‘gathbandhan’: Mamata

“They say we don’t have any leaders, but we have so many. They just have one PM and one party president. Everybody’s a leader in our gathbandhan. There is no need to discuss our PM candidate right now,” said Mamata Banerjee.

3:28 pm IST

No jobs, what’s the point of reservation?: Mamata Banerjee

“Farmers don’t have money. There are no jobs, what’s the point of reservation? We will work together to bring a new dawn for the country,” said Mamata Banerjee.

3:26 pm IST

They are changing everything, their govt has to change too: Mamata

“This govt is trying to change everything- the law, the Constitution, and now this government has to change too,” said Mamata Banerjee.

3:26 pm IST

What Pakistan has not been able to do in 70 years, this govt has achieved in 4 years: Mamata Banerjee

“What Pakistan has not been able to do in 70 years, this govt has achieved by dividing the people,” said Mamata Banerjee,

3:21 pm IST

Modi govt is past its expiry date: Mamata Banerjee

“23-24 parties have taken part in this rally. The Modi government is past is expiry date,” said Mamata Banerjee

3:15 pm IST

This rally will rob Modi of his sleep: Tejashwi Yadav

“This rally will rob Modiji of his sleep. I want to tell Modiji, you can be chowkidaar, but people of this country are thaanedaar (cops),’ said Tejashwi Yadav.

3:10 pm IST

There are a lot of promises but no delivery: Shatrughan Sinha

“There are a lot of promises but no delivery. We will ask questions but they will try to divert public attention. People will call you chowkidaar till the time you don’t answer these questions,” said Shatrughan Sinha at Mamata Banerjee’s mega rally.

3:07 pm IST

Tejashwi Yadav arrives at the venue

RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav has arrived at the venue of Mamata Banerjee’s mega rally in Kolkata

3:06 pm IST

People want a new leadership: Shatrughan Sinha

“Mood of the nation is Parivartan. Parivartan. Parivartan. People want a new leadership,” said Shatrughan Sinha .

3:00 pm IST

There was democracy during Vajpayee’s time, now there’s anarchy: Shatrughan Sinha

“There was democracy during Vajpayee’s times, now it’s anarchy,” said Shatrughan Sinha

2:56 pm IST

If speaking the truth is rebellion, I am a rebel: Shatrughan Sinha

“People ask me why I speak against the BJP. I do that because I can’t be against truth. If speaking truth is rebellion, I am a rebel. Before being a member the BJP, I am a Bharatiya,” said Shatrughan Sinha..

2:54 pm IST

We have gathered here to save the constitution: Shatrughan Sinha

“We have gathered here together to save the constitution, to save the country and to lead the country to a right path,” said Shatrughan Sinha

2:43 pm IST

Seat sharing issue in different states is a Herculean task: Deve Gowda

“The seat sharing issue in different states is a Herculean task and should be decided by the leaders themselves. There is no senior leaders like JP or Acharya Kripalani anymore. We have to give confidence to the people of this country on how the coalition will move forward. But, all the leaders have come together to give a befitting reply to Modi:,” said H D Deve Gowda

2:41 pm IST

A chargesheet was filed on flimsy grounds a day after SP-BSP alliance was announced in UP: HD Deve Gowda

“A chargesheet was filed on flimsy grounds a day after SP-BSP alliance was announced in Uttar Pradesh. The Centre is victimising Opposition leaders using all machinery,” H D Deve Gowda

2:34 pm IST

PM promised to generate 20 million jobs every year, but 16 million people have lost jobs: Kharge

The PM promised to generate 20 million jobs every year, but 16 million people have lost jobs. Farmers are distressed, there are no jobs, but the Centre is just thinking about 2019,” said Mallikarjun Kharge at Mamata’s mega rally.

2:29 pm IST

Mallikarjun Kharge reads out Sonia Gandhi’s message for the rally

Mallikarjun Kharge reads out Sonia Gandhi’s message for the rally - ‘The upcoming general elections will be on the faith of restoring democracy in our country. This rally marks an important attempt to galvanise leaders to fight the Modi govt.’

2:25 pm IST

We want to protect interests of youth, women and farmers: Sharad Pawar

“We want to protect interests of the youth, women and farmers. BJP leaders said we will fight for the PM’s post, but we have gathered to save the country,” said Sharad Pawar.

2:23 pm IST

Your show of unity is giving us hope: Sharad Pawar

“Your show of unity today is giving us hope. I congratulate Mamata for organising this meet,” said NCP’s Sharad Pawar at Oppn rally at Kolkata.

2:22 pm IST

Farmers distressed under BJP rule: Sharad Pawar

At Mamata Banerjee’s mega rally, NCP’s Sharad Pawar said, “Farmers are distressed under BJP rule, they are committing suicide.”

2:15 pm IST

Just like animals they are trying to buy MLAs: Naidu

Speaking over Karnataka poaching row, Chandrababu Naidu said, “Just like animals they are trying to buy MLAs.”

“EVM is a big fraud, we have to go back to paper ballot,” he added.

2:11 pm IST

This Prime Minister is a publicity PM, not a performing PM: Chandrababu Naidu

“This Prime Minister is a publicity PM, not a performing PM. The GST is a fraud, economic growth is stagnant. The govt is interfering in the federal set up,” said Chandrababu Naidu.

2:07 pm IST

We have one goal, we want to unite India: Chandrababu Naidu

“We have one goal. BJP has divided the nation, we want to unite India,” said Chandrababu Naidu.

“The venue has a historical significance, If there is any crisis for the nation, this ground has hosted a rally,” he added.

1:58 pm IST

If Modi-Shah come back in 2019, they will destroy this country: Arvind Kejriwal

“If Modi-Shah come back in 2019, they will destroy this country. They will break the country to pieces. They will do what Hitler did, they will change the Constitution, they will abolish elections. We need to uproot them,” said Arvind Kejriwal.

1:54 pm IST

Everyone is distressed under BJP rule: Arvind Kejriwal

“The women, farmers of the country are distressed under this government, The Dalit community is distressed, they are being lynched. The Muslims are distressed as they are being cornered,” said Arvind Kejriwal at Mamata’s mega rally.

1:53 pm IST

‘You wipe out BJP from UP, we will do so in Bengal’: Mamata tells Akhilesh

“You wipe out BJP from UP, we will do so in Bengal,” Mamata told Akhilesh at mega rally.

1:49 pm IST

This new year, will have a new PM: Akhilesh Yadav

“This new year, will have a new prime minister. Whoever the people choose will become the PM,” said Akhilesh Yadav, adding, “The BJP will not open its account in Tamil Nadu.”

“To tease us,they (BJP) say we’ve a lot of contenders for PM’s post, we say people will decide who’ll become PM. As elections are approaching,you’re forming alliance with CBI&ED while we’re forming alliance with ppl of India,” he added.

1:47 pm IST

BJP thought that there can’t be any alliance, but we proved them wrong: Akhilesh Yadav

“The issues which will be raised in Kolkata will find resonance across the country. They thought that there can’t be any alliance, but we proved them wrong,” said Akhilesh Yadav.

1:43 pm IST

BJP encouraging horse trading in Karnataka: HD Kumaraswamy

“BJP is encouraging horse trading in Karnataka. The legislators are being treated as commodities,” said HD Kumaraswamy.

1:37 pm IST

BJP has dictatorial attitude: HD Kumaraswamy

“The BJP has dictatorial attitude. The country, today, is at crossroads because of their policies,” said HD Kumaraswamy.

1:34 pm IST

Didi a role model for the country: Kumaraswamy

“Didi is a role model for the country. H D Deve Gowda, my father taught me to be humble and simple like Didi,” Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy.

1:33 pm IST

‘Anti-Modi exercise’: BJP’s take on Mamata’s Oppn rally

The BJP termed Mamata Banerjee’s rally of opposition parties an anti-Modi exercise and said that the people of the country are wise enough to see the plan.

‘Who is their leader?’ BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy asked Mamata’s opposition rally anti-Modi stunt

1:28 pm IST

BJP is lying to the people for votes: BSP MP Satish Misra

“The BJP is lying to the people for votes. Unemployment is rising. Farmers, labourers, minorities, Dalits are being persecuted,” said BSP MP Satish Misra

1:26 pm IST

Stalin will sweep elections: Mamata Banerjee

“Stalin will sweep the elections, he may win all the seats. Congratulations to him, in advance,” said host Mamata Banerjee at the mega rally.

1:25 pm IST

Mamata one person Modi afraid of: MK Stalin

Hitting out at prime minister Modi, MK Stalin said, “Mamata is one person Modi is afraid of.”

“Wherever PM Modi is going he is fiercely attacking the Opposition, Modi is fearful of Opposition and that is why he is also cursing us, he is afraid of our unity, we must come together to safeguard India,” he added.

1:20 pm IST

Modi has realised that defeat is certain: MK Stalin

“Modi has realised that defeat is certain. I have no personal animosity against Modi, but I oppose his policies. Modi has converted the country into a private limited company of which he is the MD. Modi is the fountainhead of corruption,” said MK Stalin at Mamata Banerjee’s mega rally.

1:13 pm IST

‘Send Modi home, save the country’: MK Stalin

At Mamata’s rally, MK Stalin set the tone for 2019 polls and said, “Send Modi home, save this country,” adding, “The Lok Sabha elections in May will be India’s second freedom struggle

1:02 pm IST

Farooq Abdullah hits out at BJP, rakes up EVM tampering issue

Raking up the issue of EVM tampering, Farooq Abdullah called for the use paper ballots

1:00 pm IST

Undeclared emergency in country: Farooq Abdullah

“There’s undeclared emergency in the country. They are killing people in Kashmir, calling them Pakistani. I am Muslim too, but part of this country: Farooq Abdullah hits out at NDA. 70 years after Independence the country is again facing a challenge. We have to fight together to uproot BJP,” said Farooq Abdullah.

12:59 pm IST

This not about removing one man, this is about saving this country: Farooq Abdullah

“This not about removing one man, this is about saving this country. A lot of people sacrificed, then this country got independence. But,this government is dividing people on communal, caste lines. You need to be ready for sacrifice. The BJP is dividing people on the basis of religion. We must all come together to defeat the divisive forces,” said Farooq Abdullah at Mamata’s mega rally.

12:56 pm IST

Not one institution is left, which hasn’t been destroyed by Centre: Sharad Yadav

“Not one institution is left, which has not been destroyed by the current government at Centre,” said said LJP’s Sharad Yadav.

12:51 pm IST

Country is in danger: Sharad Yadav

“Country is in danger, farmers are in a bad state. Everywhere there’s destruction. The Centre’s move of demonetisation and GST have ruined the country. The Centre was supposed to provide 20 million employment, but it destroyed many jobs,” said LJP’s Sharad Yadav.

12:46 pm IST

Only the BJP will benefit from division of votes: Abhishek Manu Singhvi

“Only the BJP will benefit from division of votes. The aim of this rally is to stop the division of votes. Wherever this happened, we saw the benefits,” said Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

12:42 pm IST

Rainbow of 22 parties replacing dark clouds: Abhishek Manu Singhvi

“At this rally, I am seeing a rainbow of 22 parties is replacing dark clouds. Clouds are parting. A rainbow of political parties is forming. The time for a coalition has arrived,” said Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi at Mamata’s mega rally.

12:40 pm IST

Never before were institutions undermined in this manner: Arun Shourie

“No other government has said so many lies. Never before were institutions undermined in this manner,” said Arun Shourie

12:30 pm IST

I have only one battle to fight - to uproot BJP from the Centre: Yashwant Sinha

“I have only one battle to fight - to uproot BJP from the Centre. They have given the slogan of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, but they took everyone’s support, but in return ruined everyone,” said Yashwant Sinha at Mamata rally.

12:28 pm IST

Democracy under danger: Yashwant Sinha

“Under the current regime, the democracy is under danger. BJP leaders will say that we have gathered here to remove PM Modi. But, it’s not about him, but about the mindset, we are here to oppose the mindset. Democracy is under attack, we have gathered here to save democracy,” said Yashwant Sinha.

12:23 pm IST

The next govt will be of famers, poor: Jayant Choudhary

“The next government will be of famers, poor and the marginalised. Today, from this dias, I want to urge PM Modi to apologise to the country for demonetisation and GST, but he won’t do it,” said Jayant Choudhary.

“What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow. Mamata Didi has shown it today,” he added.

12:18 pm IST

RLD’s Jayant Choudhary congratulates Mamata for organising “sea of humanity”

RLD’s Jayant Choudhary is the 6th speaker and he congratulated Mamata Banerjee for organising the “sea of humanity”.

12:!2 pm IST

Minorities not safe under this govt: Pu Lalduhoma

“The minorities are not safe under this government. Hence, we are coming here for a purpose. Citizenship Bill has to be withdrawn or exemption has to be given to the North East,” said Pu Lalduhoma of Zoram Nationalist Party of Mizoram.

12:03 pm IST

Mamata invites former Arunachal Pradesh CM Gegong Apang to speak as the 4th speaker

Mamata Banerjee invited former Arunachal Pradesh CM Gegong Apang to speak as the 4th speaker. He resigned from the BJP earlier this week.

“Last 4 years have been a testing time for Indian democracy,” said Apang.

11:57 am IST

All institutions under attack under Modi govt: Hemant Soren

“All institutions are under attack under the Modi govt. Their regime should be uprooted not just from the centre but from every state,” said Hemant Soren.

11:56 am IST

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Hemant Soren addresses rally

Mamata Banerjee invites third speaker - Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Hemant Soren to the dais.

“The manner in which the country is run, is dangerous for the nation,” said Hemant Soren.

12:02 pm IST

All parties have to come together to defeat BJP: Mevani

“The country is passing through an unprecedented crisis. All parties have to come together to defeat BJP and RSS,” said Jignesh Mevani

11:57 am IST

Hardik Patel first speaker at the rally

At mega Kolkata rally of top oppn leaders, Mamata invited Hardik Patel to speak first, Jignesh Mevani was the next.

11:47 am IST

M K Stalin reaches rally venue

DMK’s MK Stalin has reached the ‘United India’ rally venue.

“More than a dozen leaders have arrived at the dais,” announced Mamata Banerjee.

The rally is being attended by the who’s who of Indian politics -- a former prime minister, several current and former chief ministers and stalwarts from various political outfits from across the country.

11:37 am IST

Leaders of all opposition parties except BJD and CPI(M) to attend the rally

Leaders of all the opposition parties except the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the CPI(M)-led Left Front will be taking part in the rally, which the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has said will sound the “death knell” for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

11:26 am IST

Separate entrances for five dais, no food stall near the venue: Bengal officer

Separate entrances have been arranged for the five dais that would be looked after by around 15 teams of police officers, he said adding that commandos and other officers would also be posted there.

“We are not allowing any food stall near the venue. Only water tanks are being allowed at a safe distance from the dais. Nobody will be allowed to light fire near the venue for cooking or any other purpose,” the officer said.

11:10 am IST

Omar Abdullah lands at Kolkata airport

J-K National Conference’s Omar Abdullah landed at Kolkata airport to attend Mamata Banerjee’s ‘United India’ rally at the Brigade grounds.

Meanwhile, all the roads leading to the Brigade Parade ground are clogged with processions and vehicles carrying people to the rally.

10:55 am IST

Mamata Banerjee arrives at rally venue

TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has arrived at the ‘United India’ rally venue.

Meanwhile, cultural programme has started at the United India rally venue.

10:41 am IST

Mamata Banerjee sets out for the rally venue

Mamata Banerjee sets out for the rally venue from her home amid blowing of conch shells by supporters.

10:36 am IST

Crowd at Brigade ground will surpass all earlier records: TMC leader

“Brigade Parade Ground is filling up fast. It is certain that lakhs who have set out for the venue will not be able to enter. The crowd will surpass all earlier records,” said TMC leader Arup Roy.

10:35 am IST

‘This is a historic decision of Mamata,’ said HD Deve Gowda on Friday

“Mamata Banerjee has taken lead in bringing all the parties together and also she is working hard to throw this government and bring a secular government. This is a historic decision of Mamata and people of the country will respond,” said HD Deve Gowda after arriving at Kolkata airport on Friday afternoon.

10:17 am IST

Arvind Kejriwal arrives for Mamata Banerjee’s ‘United India’ rally

Delhi chief minister and AAP Supremo has arrived in Kolkata for Mamata Banerjee’s ‘United India’ rally. TMC welcomed Kejriwal to the “historic rally at Brigade Parade Grounds”.

10:11 am IST

‘Fight against TMC will continue’: Bengal Congress

With Congress chief Rahul Gandhi extending his support to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s mega Opposition rally, the West Bengal Congress said Friday their fight against the “misrule” of the Trinamool Congress would continue as the high command had not asked them to stop it.

“Our party president Rahul Gandhi has extended support to the anti-BJP platform. Our fight against the BJP and TMC in Bengal would continue. The party high command has not asked us to stop it,” state Congress president Somen Mitra said.

Also Read | Send powerful message: Rahul Gandhi writes to Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee on opposition rally he will skip

10:02 am IST

Beats of dhamsa-madol reverberate at Brigade Parade

The beats of dhamsa-madol are reverberating in the air at Brigade Parade Grounds ahead of the mega rally led by West Bengal CM and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.

 

9:43 am IST

Members of the Lepcha community arrive at Brigade ground

Members of the Lepcha community have arrived at Brigade ground to attend TMC’s mega rally.

The Adivasi delegation from Jangalmahal, who walked all the way to Kolkata, are about to reach ‘United India’ rally venue.

 

9:36 am IST

Key opposition leaders met Mamata Banerjee ahead of the mega rally

Key opposition leaders including SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav, DMK president MK Stalin, former prime minister Deve Gowda, and TDP Chief Chandrababu Naidu met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ahead of the TMC-led mega rally

9:31 am IST

Traffic restrictions in place for Mamata Banerjee’s rally

Mamata Banerjee’s ‘United India’ rally might affect traffic in the city as restrictions and diversions will be put in place.

Routes you need to avoid:

 

9:24 am IST

Thick security blanket over sprawling Brigade Parade Ground

A thick security blanket has been thrown on the sprawling Brigade Parade Ground — the venue for the mega rally — to prevent any untoward incident. Hundreds of TMC volunteers will be on the grounds to take care of supporters.

As many as 10,000 police personnel will be deployed and around 400 police pickets have been set up to ensure foolproof security, police said.

 

Policemen in plain clothes, personnel of the Rapid Action Force and Quick Response Team would be deployed at the rally venue.



Police posting would start from as early as 4am with senior officials in the rank of assistant commissioners in charge of the five dais set up for the rally, a senior police officer said.

9:12 am IST

Large scale preparations made to ensure that rally is a complete success

Large scale preparations have been made to ensure that it is a complete success. Besides the huge stages, 20 watch towers have been erected and 1,000 microphones and 30 LED screens put up so that the spectators can see and hear the speeches of the leaders clearly.

Lakhs of TMC supporters and workers are expected to attend the rally and huge numbers of them from various corners of the state have already started pouring into the city. They have been put up in the outskirts of the city and in some auditoriums and stadiums.

Kolkata, India - January 18, 2019: Posters of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Hemant Soren, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seen ahead of the United India Rally, in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, on Friday, January 18, 2019. (Photo by Arijit Sen / Hindustan Times) ( Arijit Sen/HT Photo )

9:02 am IST

‘BJP govt failed on all fronts,’ said Naidu on Friday after arriving in Kolkata for Mamata’s mega rally

“The BJP government has failed on all fronts and they have been misusing all the constitutional institutions of the country,” said Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

8:27 am IST

Crowd begins to gather for Mamata’s ‘United India’ rally

Crowds have begun to gather for TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee-led ‘United India’ rally in Kolkata, today.

 Mama Banerjee’s mega rally is being presumed to kick-start the opposition’s campaign ahead of the coming general elections.

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