Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday extended support to Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ahead of her mega rally that is expected to be joined by several Opposition leaders on Saturday. “I extend my support to Mamata Di on this show of unity and hope that we send a powerful message of a united India together,” Gandhi said in a letter to Banerjee.
The rally, which will take place in Kolkata, is being seen as an effort to unite the Opposition against the Bharatiya Janata Party. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal are expected to address it, as are Opposition leaders Sharad Pawar, Akhilesh Yadav, Omar Abdullah, N Chandrababu Naidu, Tejashwi Yadav and MK Stalin. Although Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati will not attend the rally, senior party leader Satish Chandra Mishra will be in attendance.
Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Abhishek Manu Singhvi will also attend, Banerjee has said. Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi have not confirmed whether they will be present.
“Across India, there are powerful forces afoot,” Gandhi said in the letter. “Forces that are fanned by the anger and disappointment of hundreds of millions of Indians who have seen through the false promises and lies peddled by the Modi government.”
He further wrote: “The entire Opposition is united in our belief that true nationalism and development can only be defended on the tested pillars of democracy, social justice and secularism, ideas that the BJP and Modi are intent on destroying.”
Banerjee on Thursday said the rally would sound the death knell for the BJP in this year’s Lok Sabha elections. “Every political party has a vision... this will be a grand alliance of people,” she added.