New Delhi: The Left parties would not be attending West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Opposition rally, reported ANI on Wednesday. Earlier, Congress leaders Rahul and Sonia Gandhi were also reported to have backed out of the same. (Also read: SC Denies BJP Permission to Hold Rath Yatras in Bengal)
The January 19 rally in Kolkata is being seen as a litmus test for the Opposition’s unity. 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 and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar, will attend the event. BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha and noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani have also accepted the Banerjee’s invitation.
As far as the Gandhis were concerned, reports suggested the West Bengal Congress wanted them to stay away from the rally and send a party leader. The reason being that Banerjee, who was invited to the swearing-in ceremony of Kamal Nath in Madhya Pradesh last month, had skipped the event and sent party MP Dinesh Trivedi instead. So the Congress may be represented by Mallikarjun Kharge instead.
Besides Sonia and Rahul, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati are also yet to confirm their participation in the mega Opposition rally.
Meanwhile, the BJP has got the go-ahead from the court to hold rallies in the state, if not Rath Yatras. The apex court said the law-and-order apprehensions of the state government were not “totally unfounded” but allowed the BJP state unit to continue with its proposed public rallies and meetings under its ‘Ganatantra Bachao Yatra’.
The BJP had claimed that earlier also, permission was denied several times at the last moment to “harass the BJP” which later moved the high court and that the party “is facing such political vendetta since 2014 in West Bengal”.