A host of Opposition leaders will participate in West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's mega Opposition rally in Kolkata on 19 January, which will not be attended by the Left parties, PTI reported.
Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief, is organising the rally to gather support for a pan-India anti-BJP front and has invited many Opposition leaders from across the country.
She asserted that TMC’s proposed Opposition rally will witness participation of non-BJP parties from “Kashmir to Kanyakumari”.
While Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi decided to send Mallikarjun Kharge to represent the party, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will be represented by senior party leader Satish Chandra Mishra. Former JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav will also be present.
Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav is likely to reach Kolkata a day before the rally on 18 January, PTI reported.
DMK Chief MK Stalin too will attend the rally, according to CNN-News18.
According to IANS, former prime minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar would also address the rally.
According to Wion, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) Tejashwi Yadav, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party Chief Chandrababu Naidu will also be present. Former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Gegong Apang, who has resigned from BJP, is likely to participate as well, PTI reported.
Left parties will not attend the rally as they share a "bitter" relationship with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party, CPI General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said on Wednesday, 9 January.
“As our relations are bitter with Mamata Banerjee and TMC in West Bengal, the Left cannot participate in that meeting,” Reddy told PTI.
"We have decided to avoid that meeting," he said.
"If other parties want to participate, we have no objection. But as far as we are concerned, we are prepared to have some sort of a joint platform (of Opposition parties) at the national level, but at the state level, in West Bengal, we cannot do it," the CPI leader said.
CPI National Secretary D Raja told PTI that the Left parties will be present on 3 February in Kolkata where they have organised a mega event.
The West Bengal Congress has, meanwhile, expressed happiness that Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi will not attend the mega rally, PTI reported.
It wanted the party's national president and the UPA chairperson to stay away from the rally and send in another leader as Banerjee had also skipped the swearing-in ceremony of Kamal Nath as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister last month, and instead sent party MP Dinesh Trivedi.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS, CNN-News18 and Wion.)
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