Kolkata: Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee is leaving no stone unturned to give a tough contest to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2019. An example of the same is a mega rally called by her in Kolkata on January 19, which is being seen as a litmus test for the Opposition’s unity. On the other hand, the state unit of the BJP, in a bid to counter TMC, is mulling to organise a mega public meeting at the same venue which may be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Notably, the mega rally comes at a time when the BJP has approached the Supreme Court against a Calcutta High Court order not allowing the party to undertake Rath Yatra (Save Democracy Rally), which would cover 42 parliamentary constituencies in the state.
While the CPI has refused to participate in the mega rally of all anti-BJP parties, top leaders like National Conference’s (NC) Farooq Abdullah, DMK President MK Stalin, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar, will attend the event. BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha and noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani have also accepted the West Bengal Chief Minister’s invitation.
The January 19 Brigade Rally will also see the participation of Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav. Meanwhile, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati is yet to take a decision in this regard. Both the leaders recently agreed on an alliance in crucial state Uttar Pradesh for general elections.
The Congress, meanwhile, has said that the party is aware about the event and someone will surely attend it. However, a decision on the same is yet to be taken. Similarly, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) President K Chandrashekar Rao is yet to decide on who will participate in the event – he or someone else from the party.
Kolkata is likely to turn into an arena on January 19 in the wake of the mega rally, which is likely to be attended by over 10 lakh people. At least 5,000 police personnel will be deployed across the city. Nearly 300 CCTV cameras have also been installed for round-the-clock monitoring to prevent any law and order situation.