Kolkata: Ahead of West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC ) Supremo Mamata Banerjee’s mega anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally on Saturday, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister who is scheduled to attend the same claimed that India needs a new Prime Minister.
Speaking to reporters at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose airport after reaching the city to attend the event, Yadav heaped praise on TMC chief for inviting “all leaders” for the rally. “Nation is waiting for a new prime minister and a message of change would go out loud and clear from the mega opposition rally of Mamata ‘didi’ (sister),” asserted the Samajwadi Party president.
He also urged media to help in choosing a new leader for the country in the upcoming Lok Sabha 2019 polls.
Meanwhile, Banerjee in a bid to unite anti-BJP parties ahead of Lok Sabha elections, said she’ll let other regional leaders take the spotlight during the mega opposition rally thus taking the backseat herself. Calling the non-BJP leaders her guests, Banerjee said, “Let the leaders coming from other states address the nation from here and shape the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance). I will listen to them and not impose my opinion.”
“Every party has its own compulsions, vision and philosophy. We respect all of them. As far as the Congress is concerned, I cannot predict how many seats they will win, but the BJP will not cross the 125 mark,” she added.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief further said that the rally will serve as a platform for the pan-India fight against the BJP.
Among those who are expected address the rally today are Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda, Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, Babulal Marandi of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), former BJP stalwarts Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, RLD chief Ajit Singh, National Conference chairman Farooq Abdullah, DMK president MK Stalin, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar, BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha, former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel, former Arunachal Pradesh CM Gegong Apang and AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal.
Meanwhile, heavy security arrangements have been put in place to avoid any untoward incident, As many as 10,000 police personnel have been deployed and around 400 police pickets set up to ensure foolproof security. Policemen in plain clothes, personnel of the Rapid Action Force and Quick Response Team would also keep a tight vigil at the venue.
Briefing about the preparations at the Brigade Parade Ground, a TMC leader earlier had said, “The venue will be divided into 22 zones to manage the massive gathering. In each zone, a deputy Commissioner-rank officer of Kolkata Police will be present to monitor the security arrangements. Along with the police, 3,000 party volunteers will also be present at the meeting to man the crowd.”
In order to make the event a complete success, at least five stages with the iconic Victoria Memorial in the backdrop have been built at the venue. Besides, 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.
All the five stages will have separate entrances and these would be guarded by around 15 teams of police officers, alongside commandos and other officers.