New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and said that the Modi-led government’s expiry date is over. Addressing the ‘United India’ rally organised in Kolkata, Banerjee said, “A new government will be formed at the Centre. It is inevitable. Their expiry date has come. This is people’s verdict.”
She even warned the saffron party of spreading any riots in the state in the name of Rath Yatra. Several opposition leaders gathered to support Mamata Banerjee’s mega Opposition rally against the Narendra Modi government.
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 were present.
Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mamata Banerjee accused him of destroying the banking system and institutions like ED and CBI. “There is courtesy in politics, but BJP does not follow it; those who are not with BJP are called thieves”, She further said.
Banerjee also claimed that the BJP does not give respect to many of its own senior leaders and people like Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari are ignored in the saffron party.
Noting that the present situation in the country is of “super Emergency”, Banerjee said it is worse than that imposed by Indira Gandhi and raised the slogan of ‘Badal do, badal do, Delhi mein sarkar badal do’ (change the government).
Earlier in the day, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal had said, “Mamata didi has called all non-BJP parties as the Modi-Shah jodi (duo) is very dangerous and the country needs to be saved from them. They should be defeated at any cost in forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.”
DMK President MK Stalin had said the “only goal” of all the secular parties is to throw out the Narendra Modi government at the Centre in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which will be the “country’s second freedom struggle” and only option to save the nation by defeating BJP with a united opposition front.
Congress stalwart Sonia Gandhi described the opposition rally here as an “important attempt” to galvanise leaders across the political spectrum to fight the “arrogant and divisive” Narendra Modi government.
In her message to the rally, which she and her son Congress President Rahul Gandhi decided to give a miss, she wished the event “all success”.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came down heavily on them (Opposition leaders) asking, “Is it a rally of ‘United India’ or of ‘Divided Leadership’? Addressing a press conference, former Union Minister and BJP national spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy questioned the face of Opposition. “The summit at Brigade Parade Ground is a summit of contradiction and conflicting ideologies and held under whose leadership. Is it Mulayam Singh, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata or who?” asked Rudy.
About the ‘United India’ rally
Convened by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who is aiming to project herself as the face of the Opposition, the ‘United India’ 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. Banerjee has arranged for a tea party for her guests at 4 pm on Saturday after the rally gets over. The venue is Soujanya, a new state government guest house, modelled after New Delhi’s Hyderabad House. The leaders are likely to address the media about their deliberations post-tea party.
On Friday itself, Banerjee called on the former prime minister and Janata Dal (Secular) national president H.D. Deve Gowda, Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who have been lodged in different hotels.
(With PTI inputs)