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Published On: Sat, Jan 19th, 2019

“Narendra Modi’s expiry date is over, We are now build a new India,” says Mamata Banerjee

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Mamta RallyKOLKATA/ NEW DELHI : West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, headlining the opposition rally in Kolkata, took the fight directly to the BJP as she said that the expiry date for the Narendra Modi government is here and today’s rally marks the beginning of its end. Mamata Banerjee  came out with a call,‘Delhi mein sarkar badal do’  (change the government at the Centre) at a mega Opposition rally organised by her party.kolkata
She promised to work together along with other Opposition parties. Who the prime minister would be decided after polls, she said.Rolling the red carpet for several opposition leaders to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections, Banerjee sought to address concerns over who would lead the alliance, saying all the opposition parties have promised to work together. “Who will be the prime minister can be decided after the Lok Sabha elections,” she said.
Whatever its eventual outcome, political history was made at Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s giant rally in Kolkata today where she brought together more than 25 top leaders from 23 parties from across the country with one common objective — unite to oust the BJP.
Some concrete ideas emerged from four hours of deliberations in front of a huge audience– a committee to draw up a common manifesto; a campaign against the electronic voting machine, which was labelled a “chor machine”; and a one-is-to-one fight that involved pitting just one opposition candidate against the BJP in each seat.
Addressing the ‘United India’ rally, former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said people’s rights were under the threat as he attacked the Centre for curtailing people’s rights. He said the 2019 Lok Sabha elections would see a fight between the alliance of the BJP, CBI and ED on one hand and the Mahagathbandhan on the other.
At the rally, former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha came down heavily on the Narendra Modi government saying that this was the first government after Independence which has been playing “mischief” with the developmental statistics. Sinha who quit the BJP recently said, under the present regime praising the government was “desh bhakti”(patriotism), criticising it is “desh drohi” (sedition).

 Earlier, former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah called Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) ‘chor’ machines and said opposition leaders must urge the poll panel to do away with them.”We want free and fair elections, we will never accept an election won on a fraudulent basis and we fear this,” said Farooq Abdullah. “Delhi CM has been raising the matter for a long time now,” he added.

Sketching out the strategy ahead of polls, Mamata said that Akhilesh Yadav, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Arvind Kejriwal will comprise the committee to prepare draft on EVM and meet the Election Commission. It is important to protect democracy.” She also said the opposition might meet during the upcoming parliament session.
The Kolkata rally was earlier opened by Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, who warned that the country is going through an “unprecedented crisis”.  Ms Banerjee guests did not disappoint. From Hardik Patel, the first speaker, to Tejashwi Yadav, the penultimate one, the attack against the ruling party was ferocious.
“In the last 70 years, Pakistan’s dream was to somehow break up this country, divide the country. What Pakistan failed to do in 70 years, Modi and Amit Shah did in five,” said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. “If they win the elections in 2019, India will change. They will change the constitution, they will stop elections. I shudder to think. But having come to this rally, I am sure their good days are over.”

“The BJP has 40 allies. As the polls approach, you are making allies of the CBI and Enforcement Department also. But we are making an alliance with the people, and in a democracy, the people have the last word,” Akhilesh Yadav said. Mr Yadav also did some political arithmetic. “In Tamil Nadu, they will get zero. It will happen in Bengal too, and after the BSP-SP tie-up on January 12, the BJP is wondering how they will even get a single seat,” he said.
Some of the most biting attacks against the BJP came from of its own. Former Union Minister Arun Shourie slammed the Modi administration, saying: “There is no debate that this government has to go. No government has lied so much, no government has destroyed institutions, no government has neglected the defence sector more. The corruption in Rafael is the biggest.”And then, for good measure, he added, “Demonetisation was a lunatic idea.”
BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha raised the Rafale question. “I am not saying that anyone is guilty, I am not saying anyone is innocent, but if you keep suppressing the truth, then people are bound to say that chowkidar chor hai.”
The Congress gave up trying to maintain some distance from Ms Banerjee’s initiative. MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi praised her move and termed the BJP as a “vengeful” government.  Congress Senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge “To save the country, the constitution and secular traditions, we must fight together. It’s not difficult. But I will say that while the destination is very far, the road is difficult and even if hearts can’t meet, let hands meet,” Mr Kharge said. He had arrived late for the event, after intense trouble-shooting in Bengaluru.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav was also delayed because he had to make a court appearance. “Modi will lose his sleep. BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao (Drive away the BJP, save the nation). I thank Mamata Banerjee for uniting us. Our chowkidar (watchman) must understand that he may be the chowkidar, but the people of this country are his thanedaar (senior officer). If he does wrong, the thanedaar will punish him,” he said.He was taking a dig at PM Modi, who had described himself as the chowkidar of the national treasury a few years ago.
Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda said with the general elections close at hand, the opposition parties should forget their differences and come together to fight the BJP unitedly.  The Janata Dal (Secular) supremo said a small group of senior leaders should be formed to decide on a roadmap on how they will ensure good governance. The herculean task of seat sharing for the coming Lok Sabha elections has to be addressed to ensure direct fight against the BJP, he said.
Meanwhile, The opposition rally in Kolkata organised by the Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee is “a rally of self interest and of conflicting ideologies”, the BJP said on Saturday. Addressing a press conference at the party office here, BJP national spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy termed the rally an anti-Modi exercise and exuded confidence that the party was not threatened by it.

They talk of a new front but I am not sure if it’s even the second or the third front,” Mr. Rudy said. He further said the rally had exposed divisions in the opposition camp, with many of these parties just “snubbing” each other. “Left has refused their invitation. SP-BSP alliance snubbed Congress in U.P. which has now extended support to rally. This is rally of self-interest,” Mr. Rudy said.
(With Agency Inputs).

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