Mamata Banerjee puts up spirited claim to PM post

Hugh Fox
January 20, 2019

Kolkata: The stage is set for a mega anti-BJP rally at the historic Brigade Parade ground here on Saturday, that would virtually kick-start the opposition's campaign and is likely to provide the contours of a federal front ahead of the coming general election.

Other leaders expected to be present include Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

"The Modi government is past its expiry date", said Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal state, from an enormous raised platform.

- Mamata Banerjee: We will work together to bring a new dawn for the country. "Wherever BJP meets, we will hold a meeting at the same place the next day", Banerjee said.

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Communist Party of India (Marxist) state secretary and politburo member Surya Kanta Mishra said, the TMC and BJP were two sides of the same coin and share several "undemocratic traits". They were scathing in their criticism of the NDA Government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asserted that democracy, the Constitution, institutions and the federal structure were all under attack.

Politicians at the rally, whose organisers said was attended by more than a million people, said India's growth had slowed during Modi's term and their first priority was to defeat him, adding a replacement would be decided after the elections. We have come together with just one aim. Even in the past when BJP was in power, they never did this, unlike the present government.

Training guns at the Modi government on the controversial Rafale fighter jet deal, demonetisation and implementation of GST, the disgruntled BJP MP said, "If you keep suppressing facts, people will continue to say "chaukidar chor hain". He said over the last 70 years the country has seen the emergence of strong regional parties that have played an important role to protect the interests of their own states.

More than 20 Opposition Parties have come together in Kolkata as a Show of Strength and Opposition Unity.

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Mamata Banerjee at the United India Rally in Kolkata.

- Massive preparations have been made to ensure that the event is a success.

While Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi have given the rally a miss, they have deputed senior party functionary and leader of the party in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.

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