It is indeed most closely watched political event of the nation ahead of the national election.
The “United India Rally” that got organised by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground was attended by spectrum of opposition leaders.
Prominent amongst those who attended the event included Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, DMK chief MK Stalin, Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and Nationalist Congress Party head Sharad Pawar.
All the speakers at the event, including Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayanth Choudhary, termed the event as a response to the “dark days” the Narendra Modi government had brought upon the country.
National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah spoke on the need to shun the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in future elections. “The EVMs are chor (thieving) machines, and there is no system like this in anywhere else in the world. We need to bring back paper ballots,” he asserted. He also said that all parties should unite to defeat the BJP, which is “dividing people on the basis of religion”.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi asserted that the mega-rally of opposition leaders stands for the diversity of India just like different colours represent a rainbow.
Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayanth Choudhury, who spoke earlier, said the rally was a response to the dark days that had befallen the country lately. “We have decided that if good days are to come, Prime Minister Narendra Modi must be driven out. We need a government that belongs to the farmers, the poor and the youth,” he declared.
Among the other leaders attending the event are Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav.
The “United India Rally” is seen by many as an attempt to portray Ms Banerjee as a leader who can rally secular forces against the BJP and emerge as a potential challenger to PM Modi.