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.
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.
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.
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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:
“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.
“The people have already made their minds, acche din (good days) not going to come back for BJP,” said Mamata Banerjee.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“This govt is trying to change everything- the law, the Constitution, and now this government has to change too,” said Mamata Banerjee.
“What Pakistan has not been able to do in 70 years, this govt has achieved by dividing the people,” said Mamata Banerjee,
“23-24 parties have taken part in this rally. The Modi government is past is expiry date,” said Mamata Banerjee
“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.
“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.
RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav has arrived at the venue of Mamata Banerjee’s mega rally in Kolkata
“Mood of the nation is Parivartan. Parivartan. Parivartan. People want a new leadership,” said Shatrughan Sinha .
“There was democracy during Vajpayee’s times, now it’s anarchy,” said 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..
“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
“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
“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
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.
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.’
“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.
“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.
At Mamata Banerjee’s mega rally, NCP’s Sharad Pawar said, “Farmers are distressed under BJP rule, they are committing suicide.”
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“You wipe out BJP from UP, we will do so in Bengal,” Mamata told Akhilesh at mega rally.
“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.
“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.
“BJP is encouraging horse trading in Karnataka. The legislators are being treated as commodities,” said HD Kumaraswamy.
“The BJP has dictatorial attitude. The country, today, is at crossroads because of their policies,” said HD 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.
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.
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“The BJP is lying to the people for votes. Unemployment is rising. Farmers, labourers, minorities, Dalits are being persecuted,” said BSP MP Satish Misra
“Stalin will sweep the elections, he may win all the seats. Congratulations to him, in advance,” said host Mamata Banerjee at the mega rally.
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.
“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.
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
Raking up the issue of EVM tampering, Farooq Abdullah called for the use paper ballots
“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.
“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.
“Not one institution is left, which has not been destroyed by the current government at Centre,” said said LJP’s 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.
“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.
“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.
“No other government has said so many lies. Never before were institutions undermined in this manner,” said Arun Shourie
“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.
“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.
“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.
RLD’s Jayant Choudhary is the 6th speaker and he congratulated Mamata Banerjee for organising the “sea of humanity”.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
“The country is passing through an unprecedented crisis. All parties have to come together to defeat BJP and RSS,” said Jignesh Mevani
At mega Kolkata rally of top oppn leaders, Mamata invited Hardik Patel to speak first, Jignesh Mevani was the next.
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.
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.
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.
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.
TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has arrived at the ‘United India’ rally venue.
Meanwhile, cultural programme has started at the United India rally venue.
Mamata Banerjee sets out for the rally venue from her home amid blowing of conch shells by supporters.
“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.
“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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
“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.