Mamata’s anti-BJP rally HIGHLIGHTS: Won’t allow riots in name of Rath Yatra, warns Bengal CM

Mamata’s anti-BJP rally HIGHLIGHTS: Won’t allow riots in name of Rath Yatra, warns Bengal CM

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata rally today HIGHLIGHTS: Opposition leaders on Saturday addressed Mamata's 'United India' rally at Kolkata's Brigade Parade Ground and slammed the Modi government.

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West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee addresses the crowd at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground. (Express photo/Partha Paul)

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata Rally today HIGHLIGHTS: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the Centre and claimed that the Narendra Modi government’s expiry date was over “just like your pills”. The TMC chief, who had rolled out the red carpet for a united opposition’s meet at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground, also warned the BJP against any riots in the name of Rath Yatra across the state.

Several opposition leaders had gathered to prepare a roadmap for a coalition against the ruling BJP. More than 20 national political leaders, including former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha and Arun Shourie; three present chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal, Chandrababu Naidu and H D Kumaraswamy; and former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Akhilesh Yadav and Gegong Apang also addressed the meeting. The Congress was represented by Mallikarjun Kharge and Abhishek Manu Singhvi. A thick security blanket was thrown around the sprawling ground to prevent any untoward incident.

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Mamata Banerjee's mega 'United India' rally, displaying opposition unity ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, has begun in Kolkata. Read in Bangla

Agenda is to remove PM Modi, no future road-map made for development of India, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad spoke on Saturday's Kolkata rally, saying that it was evident that their agenda is to remove Prime Minister Narendra Modi and they have no future road-map for the development of India."Those who could not see eye to eye have come together & from the speech it was evident that their only agenda is to remove Narendra Modi, they have no future road-map for the development of India," said Prasad. Prasad commented on Akhilesh Yadav's speech at addressing a rally in Kolkata saying that a leader has to be named to be elected by the people of India. Someone said in a very funny manner that our leader will be elected by the people of India, you have to name your leader to be elected by the people of India. Rahul Gandhi, Mayawati, Mamata Ji and some regional players too, all have PM‘s ambition," said the Law Minister.

Won't allow riots in name of Rath Yatra, warns Mamata at united opposition's meet

Continuing her attack on the Modi government, Mamata said, "I will not allow communal violence in the name of Rath Yatra. We will not allow BJP to run amok in Bengal. BJP will be wiped out from state to state. No acche din under the Modi government. People have made up their mind to oust the BJP government. Our country does not believe in the politics of divide and rule."

'Agencies' holding a meeting in Delhi like us: Mamata at united opposition's rally

Mamata Banerjee added, "The Modi government tends to take the credit for the works done by the state government. The state government is not being allowed to work under this government. The weather changes, everything changes, then why can't this Modi government change? Modi government targetting the opposition is simply an act of vendetta. Everyone has to come together. Collective leadership is very important. Modi asks who is going to be our leader. We have several leaders - everybody is a leader, everyone is an organiser in our alliance. We are holding a meeting here, am sure all the 'agencies' are holding a meeting in Delhi."

Modi govt passed expiry date: Bengal CM at united opposition's rally

Taking over the event, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said, "Just like medicines have expiry dates, the time has come for the Modi government to leave. Bengal has shown the way during Independence and it continues showing the same. So many scandalous things have happened in this country. You should see the amount of money this government had five years ago and what it has now." 

ED, CBI are BJP's alliance partners: Tejashwi Yadav at united opposition's rally

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said, "If you do not bow before the government, it will use the central agencies against you. The Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation are BJP's alliance partners. We have to save the country. Modi will get sleepless nights after this opposition meet. I thank Mamata ji on behalf of my father Lalu Prasad Yadav too. If the country's 'chowkidaar' commits a mistake, then the 'thanedaar' will punish you."

BJP's Locket Chatterjee hits out at Mamata govt

BJP Mahila Morcha president Locket Chatterjee tweeted, "When PM Narendra Modi launches a scheme of affordable healthcare for the poor in the country, which even global leaders praise, opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee pull out of the scheme for their political agenda."

Fire breaks out at Brigade Parade Ground

A minor fire broke out at the Brigade Parade Ground today. (Express photo)

Cannot compromise with principles: Shatrughan Sinha at united opposition's rally

BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha, who is also present at the event, said, "We are here to give a new direction to the country. We are here to take the views of NEWS (North East West South) of United India. The mood of the country is one and is towards development. There is too much of life among the younger generation. I cannot compromise with principles. Before BJP, I belong to this country (on talks of getting removed from the party). If speaking the truth is rebellious, then I am a rebel. Demonetisation was not the party's decision. People could not overcome the effects of demonetisation that the government decided to roll out the Goods and Service Tax. Several traders were hit badly by the decision."

Media asking pertinent questions: Gowda at united opposition's rally

Gowda added, "The first Mahagathbandhan has been organised in Kolkata. The main task before us is how we should move forward. I have heard all the senior leaders speak. The time is very short. The only issue is how will all of us come together and what our future is. Social media is powerful and the media is asking pertinent questions. It is a herculean task for all of us to forget our differences and come together."

Narendra Modi slams united opposition's rally in Kolkata

Meanwhile, while addressing a rally in Gujarat's Silvassa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the united opposition, saying, "This alliance is not against PM Modi but against the people of India. Currently, they are not even properly together and already have started bargaining for their share. In Kolkata, people are seeking help to save themselves but here, I am with you to take the country forward. My actions against corruption have infuriated some people. It's but natural for them to get angry as I have prevented them from looting public money. Consequently, they have now formed an alliance called Mahagathbandhan."

Herculean task to forget differences and come together: Former PM at united opposition's rally

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda also addressed the United India rally. He said, "It is a herculean task to forget differences and come together. The Centre is victimizing leaders of Opposition parties using all machinery."

Farmers dying, PM Modi feeding Anil Ambani: Kharge at united opposition's rally

Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge said, "I thank Mamata for uniting all political parties. I thank all the leaders for coming together. The country at large is under immense strain. Economically, citizens have been stripped. Politically, institutions have been undermined. We need to defeat the forces that are trying to sabotage the Constitution of India. This rally marks an important attempt to galvanize the leaders to fight the arrogant Modi government. This is the message given by Sonia Gandhi on behalf of Congress. Until we are one, we will not be able to fight this government. I appeal to all leaders to unite to save our democracy. Farmers are dying but PM Modi is feeding people like Anil Ambani. Unemployment is rising under Modi's rule. The government has failed the country through demonetisation and Rafale fraud."

Shatrughan Sinha spotted at united opposition's rally, BJP upset

Hitting out at BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha for attending the united opposition's rally, BJP national spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, "Some people are intelligent in a different way. Some people want to carry the stamp of BJP for the facilities that come as a MP. They make it a point to be present at the whip so that they don't lose their membership. At the same time they are so opportunistic that they want to climb the stage and be present at a conclave. BJP will take cognizance of it."

Andhra CM rakes up Rafale deal, Karnataka crisis at united opposition's meet

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu also addressed the crowd. He said, "Today is a historic day. We have only one ambition- Save India, Save Democracy. We have to unite India; BJP is trying to divide India. The BJP and NDA have betrayed the nation. This government is doing fraud by paying extra for 36 jets. It has misled the nation in this case. After note ban, ATMs have remained closed and no money is available in the bank. This government is not controlling inflation but interfering in federal work. If you misbehave in Karnataka, you will pay a heavy price."

Arvind Kejriwal lashes out at PM Modi, Amit Shah at united opposition's rally

Taking over from Yadav, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal said, "In the last five years, PM Modi and Amit Shah's combo has finished the country. Today, the country is fed up with them. Modi has told lies, took votes from the youth, promised them jobs. Today, naukri (job) is a far fetched ideal, there is a job deficit and the farmers are worst hit. Farmers are committing suicide when their crops are getting destroyed. PM Modi and Shah tend to hand them over to insurance companies to recover their money, and these insurance companies are Modi's friends. The farmers don't get their money. The country's women are also upset because our PM follows those people who abuse them on social media."

Akhilesh Yadav addresses crowd at united opposition's rally

Addressing the crowd, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said, "Bengal will show the way to the rest of the nation. They tease us saying they have so many PM hopefuls, but who will be the one? The public will decide who will be our PM. We ask you who failed you, who upset the country and its people, who played dirty games and spread hatred, it's the BJP. When they promised sabka saath sabka vikas, they tried to poison your society. Modi's message is a message of hate."

Mallikarjun Kharge joins united opposition's rally in Kolkata

Leader of opposition Mallikarjun Kharge arrives at the united opposition's rally in Kolkata.

Kumaraswamy addresses united opposition's rally

Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy said, "Regional parties have the strong instinct to connect with the people and protect the interests of their states."

TMC supporters continue to throng united opposition's rally site

Massive arrangements have been made to accomodate the TMC supporters who have arrived in the city for the United India rally. (Express photo)

PM Modi fears Mamata Banerjee: Stalin at united opposition's rally

"This is the second freedom struggle. The elections will serve as a platform to get rid of the Modi government. Modi had claimed that there is no opposition in India; today he is talking only about oppositions. He is scared, he is scared that we will dethrone the BJP from power. This BJP government is not for commoners, it's for corporates. Rafale deal is a case of corruption. Vijay Mallya left India with the help of this government, Sushma Swaraj helped Nirav Modi flee the country," Stalin said.

The DMK chief added, "If Narendra Modi comes to power again, India will go back 50 years. I thank Mamata for organizing this rally against the BJP government. Modi fears few people, Mamata Banerjee is one of them. Modi and Amit Shah fear to enter Kolkata and that's because of Mamata. She is an Iron Lady, she had immense respect for our leader Kalaingar. Our unity will defeat Modi, our unity will save India," the DMK chief said.

Thousands gather to witness opposition unity in Kolkata

The crowd at the United India rally in Kolkata. (Express photo)

Lok Sabha elections will be second freedom struggle: Stalin

Rahul Sinha slams opposition's United India rally

Bhutia community joins united opposition's rally

Need to finish BJP, fight elections together: Farooq Abdullah at united opposition's rally in Kolkata

National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah told the crowd, "After 70 years, India has yet another challenge. That people are being divided on religious lines. Fire is being spread in the northeast (a reference to Citizenship Amendment Bill). If you want to save this country, everyone has to sacrifice something. We will have to unite to save the country. I am a Muslim, but a part of Hindustan, and every Kashmiri, be it from Jammu and Ladakh, wants to stay with India. In the last four years, the current government has given us problems from all sides. We have to finish the BJP, and for that, it is important to fight the elections together. We should approach the Election Commission, meet the President and say we want ballot papers. This year, we want a new government that plays fair with institutions, in which we can all co-exist. India can be strengthened not by the Air Force or Army but only if our hearts are strong."

'Time for coalition has arrived, Modi intolerant of any criticism'

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, "Clouds are parting. A rainbow of political parties is forming. The time for a coalition has arrived. The Modi government is intolerant of any criticism. PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah's motive is to mislead the public and get votes. I applaud Mamata di's efforts to bring everyone together on one platform."

Jokers coming together to destroy India: Mukul Roy on Mamata's United India rally

Taking a jibe at Mamata's meeting with opposition leaders, BJP leader Mukul Roy said, "West Bengal is again witnessing a circus under Mamata’s rule similar to what Jyoti Basu had started. Various jokers and lying artists coming together to destroy India again."

Arun Shourie speaks at Mamata's United India rally

Sinha added, "Today there isn't one democratic institution that the current dispensation hasn't destroyed. The country's economy is in doldrums, this is the first government that plays around and exaggerates facts and figures. You all know what the ground reality is and that the government wants to divide society and country."Taking over, former BJP leader Arun Shourie said, "No other government has said so many lies. Never before were institutions undermined in this manner."

Opposition unity not against PM Modi but certain ideology: Yashwant Sinha

Former Union Minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said, "I thank Mamata ji for inviting me to this event. We have gathered here to defeat one person- Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We are here to protest against a certain set of ideas and ideologies. This is the first government who enjoys playing with facts and figures. Those who oppose the government are not anti-nationals." Raking up the Kashmir issue, he said, "I had earlier said that the problems in Kashmir cannot be solved  through bullets but dialogue."

CM Mamata Banerjee addresses United India rally in Kolkata

RLD leader Jayant Chaudhury addresses United India rally

Karnataka CM meets his Andhra counterpart, former PM

Ex-BJP leader Gegong Apang joins Mamata's rally

Former Arunachal Pradesh CM Gegong Apang, who recently quit the BJP, also turned up for the rally. He said, "The last four years have been testing times for Indian democracy."

Opposition parties against hate politics: Hemant Soren

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha working president Hemant Soren said, "All opposition parties are against hate politics. The manner in which the country is running is dangerous for the nation. I want to thank Mamata di for taking the initiative to organise this meeting."

Unprecedented crisis in country: Jignesh Mewani

As opposition leaders continue to address the crowd, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani said, "The country is passing through an unprecedented crisis. All parties have to come together to defeat BJP and RSS."

United India rally to save Constitution of India: Hardik Patel

Addressing the crowd, Patidar leader Hardik Patel said, "This meeting is to save the Constitution of India. Together we can save this country."

BJP's days are numbered: M K Stalin

Taking to Twitter, DMK chief M K Stalin said, "It has been a great pleasure meeting all leaders in Kolkata attending the United India rally. I look forward to the public meeting today that will send out a strong message to the BJP that it's days of dividing and ruling India, are numbered."

Akhilesh Yadav arrives at rally

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also arrives at Mamata's rally.

Poet Srijato reads poetry at event

Poet Srijato, who was harassed by Hindutva supporters at Silchar recently, now reads his poetry to the audience.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reviewed the arrangements at the ground on Friday. (Express photo)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reviewed the arrangements at the ground on Friday. (Express photo)

Large scale preparations have been made to ensure that it is a complete success. Besides the huge stages, 20 watch towers have been erected and 1,000 microphones and 30 LED screens put up so that the spectators can see and hear the speeches of the leaders clearly. Lakhs of TMC supporters and workers are expected to attend the rally and huge numbers of them from various corners of the state have already started pouring into the city. They have been put up in the outskirts of the city and in some auditoriums and stadiums. Hundreds of TMC volunteers will be on the grounds to take care of supporters. As many as 10,000 police personnel will be deployed and around 400 police pickets have been set up to ensure foolproof security, the police said.