The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday dismissed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s United India rally in Kolkata, attended by several Opposition leaders, as an “exercise by an anti-Modi front”.
The rally has several major leaders in attendance including Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President MK Stalin and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav.
Many BJP leaders used the #UnitedAntinationalsBrigade to deride the Opposition’s meet which was using #UnitedIndiaAtBrigade.
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the public have witnessed the Narendra Modi-led administration’s performance. “We will form the next government with full majority,” Rudy said.
Rudy said the rally is a failed front and is a summit of contradictions and conflict. “Don’t know where the threat to unity is,” the BJP leader said. “While Mamata calls it United India, we can clearly see a divided leadership. They talk of a new front but I am not sure if it’s even the second or the third front.”
He further said: “This front is made in a condition of hopelessness,” Rudy told reporters at a press conference, according to The New Indian Express. “The stage is full of selfishness. There has been personal hatred on this stage. This is the stage of contradiction and conflict.”
He also questioned who the prime ministerial candidate of the Opposition will be. “Who is the leader of those 50 to 55 faces being seen on the stage? Is their leader Deve Gowda, Mulayam Singh, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav or Lalu Yadav?” he asked.
Rudy said the party will take cognisance of its rebel MP Shatrughan Sinha’s presence at the Opposition rally. “He [Sinha] calls himself BJP but also positions himself at the rally of Mamata Banerjee,” Rudy said.
He further added: “Some people are intelligent in a different way. They want to carry the stamp of BJP for the facilities that come as an MP. They make it a point to be present [in Parliament] when a whip is issued [for mandatory attendance] so that they don’t lose their membership. But at the same time, they are so opportunistic that they want to climb the stage and be present at a conclave.”
Meanwhile, Modi took an apparent jibe at the Opposition’s meet while speaking at a rally in Silvassa. “My actions against corruption have infuriated some people,” Modi said. “It is but natural for them to get angry as I have prevented them from looting public money. Consequently, they have now formed an alliance called mahagathbandhan [grand alliance].”
BJP leader Mukul Roy, who had quit the TMC to join the saffron party in 2017, described the Opposition meeting as a circus. “West Bengal is again witnessing a circus under Mamata Banerjee’s rule similar to what Jyoti Basu had started,” Roy tweeted. “Various jokers and lying artists coming together to destroy India again.”
BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya called the coming together of Opposition leaders a “selfish alliance”. “When there is no heart, the bond for the seven lives ends, and how long will a selfish alliance last?” Vijayvargiya tweeted. The BJP’s general secretary took a jibe at the absence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Bahujan Samaj Party Mayawati at the rally hosted by Banerjee.