Kolkata: Opposition stalwarts from across the nation received huge applause for their repeated humorous digs at the Modi government during the anti-BJP rally at the historic Brigade Parade Ground here on Saturday.
“The expiry date of BJP-government is over. So the New Year will be a fresh change,” Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, the organiser of the rally, said as she began her address.
Fond of poetry, the TMC leader coined interesting Bengali phrases “Bajar e legeche aagun jagun Bangla jagun’ (Market is on fire, Bengal wake up), “Loot er takay vote lootche shob note” (Votes are conducted using looted money) and “Onek hoyeche Acche din, Ebar BJP ke baad din’ (Enough of ‘Acche Din’, get rid of BJP now).
She mocked that the Bengal unit of BJP always plans meetings seeing her party but they will “always be a zero in Bengal’.
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah took a swipe at the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) calling it a ‘chor machine’ (stealing machine).
“The EVM is a ‘stealing machine’ and there are many countries in the world without such machines. It is not hidden how the votes are manipulated using this.
“We must appeal to the Election Commission to go back to the traditional ballot system of voting,” Abdullah said.
Referring to what he called ‘vindictive and undemocratic’ nature of the present government, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said: “Years ago after Laluji’s (RJD chief Lalu Prasad) rally in Bihar, an income tax notice was issued but no one questioned Amit Shah’s repeated rallies in Uttar Pradesh. This is this central government’s double standard.”
“Aaj agar kahe tussi great ho koi notice nahi aayega (If one praise the government and speaks of its greatness there would no notice be send against them),” Singhvi said in jest.
Urging the people not to vote in any BJP-led coalition again, Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav said ‘the party must be submerged in the river Ganga’.
“Narendra Modi is scared of some people and Mamata Banerjee is one of them. That is why Modi and Amit Shah are afraid to come here,” DMK President M.K. Stalin said.
Inviting a huge cheer from the audience, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said: “It is a fresh new year, we greeted each other. Just think if this New Year brings a change and gives us a new Prime Minister.”
He said that they were teased for having too many ‘grooms’ vying against the BJP-led government meaning that there is no single prominent prime ministerial candidate from the grand alliance, but the voters will ultimately decide.
“If Tamil Nadu ‘can make BJP zero’ in their state it is the responsibility of other states to stop the party from winning any seat,” he added.
“Modi aur Amit Shah jaane wale hai, aur Acche din aane waale hai (It is time for Narenda Modi and Amit Shah’s exit which will be a harbinger of prosperous days),” Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal said, taking potshots at Modi’s slogan of “acche din”.
Dissident BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha criticised the government’s policies and performances while charming the audience with his oratory skills.
“Ek taraf GST doosri taraf notebandi isse kehte hai Neem pe karela (The implementation of GST and demonetisation was like the combination of bitter gourd and neem). There is a huge gap between government’s performance and promises,” he said.
Directly targeting the Prime Minister, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav said: “Modiji is a factory, manufacturer and distributor of lies. He can give 10 lies free along with one lie. His promises are all fake, so we need to be cautious”.
In the video, one can see how photoshopped picture of PM Modi was erected on the road in Kolkata.
Tens of thousands attend Bengal’s mega anti-BJP rally
Tens of thousands of enthusiastic workers and supporters, including a man on a wheelchair, attended the mega anti-BJP rally at the historic Brigade Parade ground here on Saturday raising their voices against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached the venue almost an hour before the scheduled time while party leaders, MPs MLAs took their seats on the side stage.
Amidst elaborate security arrangements, the enthusiastic participants gathered waving giants flags. People were seen donning party symbols on hats and clothes.
Most of their sloganeering were centred around Modi, BJP National President Amit Shah and about the party’s rule “finishing” in 2019.
Kamaludddin Khan came on a wheelchair came with a placard greeting the TMC chief and wished that she keeps moving ahead indirectly sharing his desire to see Banerjee as the next Prime Minister.
Finally, their wait was over as the rally, which is expected to kick-start the Opposition’s campaign ahead of the upcoming general election, got going.
“We want to hear didi,” Atish Chandra Bagdi, an avid supporter of the Trinamool supremo from Murshidabad district said. He painted himself in his party’s colours.
Some people like Amzad Hossain from Coochbehar district donning dresses printed with the party’s symbol, had arrived in the city on Friday.
“Let us take the pledge of building a progressive, strong and United India” read the backdrop of the main stage, where a number of Trinamool flags fluttered.
With inputs from IANS