Historic ‘united India rally’, will mark BJP’s death knell: Mamata

NEW DELHI: Terming the January 19 public meeting of opposition leaders here as “united India rally”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said it will sound the death knell of BJP in the 2019 general election.

Banerjee predicted that the saffron outfit, which is currently in power at the Centre, will not get more than 125 seats in the coming polls.

The Trinamool Congress chief, who has been a strong advocate of a federal front, said regional parties will play a big role in the Lok Sabha election.

“This rally will be a united India rally. So many heavyweight leaders, including chief ministers of a number of states, a former prime minister, ex-chief ministers and party chiefs will be attending the rally. This will be a historic rally,” Banerjee said after inspecting the preparations at the sprawling Brigade Parade Ground.

“All the leaders are coming. It is a battle against the BJP in 2019 elections. Every political party will convey its message. Obviously the death knell of BJP will be sounded from here. The process has already started,” she said.

When asked whether the strength of all the opposition parties combined will be enough to gain more Lok Sabha seats than Congress and BJP, Banerjee said, “I do not know how many seats Congress will get in 2019. It will depend upon the election. But BJP will not get more than 125 seats. So, the rest of the parties will play a vital role. The federal parties, the state-based parties will be a big factor this time.”

The mega-event, also dubbed as ‘anti-BJP rally’, is being seen as a step towards unifying the opposition parties ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and is also expected to elevate Banerjee as one of the prime opposition faces.

Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, NCP President Sharad Pawar, DMK President M.K. Stalin, BSP’s Satish Misra and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah will arrive in the city on Friday to attend the meeting.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and a few others will reach Kolkata on Saturday morning, the day of the rally, Banerjee said.