In what can come as a setback for the Mahagathbandhan, Congress president Rahul Gandhi will skip the grand opposition rally against the Modi government organised by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday, January 19, sources have confirmed. However, instead of the Congress chief, senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge is expected to represent the party in the rally, organised by TMC to gather support for a pan-India anti-BJP front.
Furthermore, sources told Republic TV that Congress's West Bengal unit is not happy with the decision of going in alliance in 2019 polls and that none of the state leaders was invited by the TMC party to join the rally.
Sources also told that Congress West Bengal leadership suggested the party chief that they were willing to fight the upcoming general elections alone, and asked him to not attend the rally.
Reportedly, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav are also yet to confirm their presence in the mega opposition rally in West Bengal.
Meanwhile, several party leaders are expected to participate in the mega rally against the BJP-led government, including former J&K CM Omar Abdullah, Rashtriya Janata Dal's Tejashwi Yadav, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal and Janata Dal-S leader and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda. Earlier in October 2018, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee had confirmed their presence for the mega event.
While announcing the mega rally, the TMC supremo had said,
"We have made a publicity campaign committee for January 19 Brigade Sabha. All the opposition parties and leaders have been invited. This is to go against the current BJP government. We have got the permission to hold this event. We have invited everyone as we do not consider anyone small. CPM does a lot of things against me. They do whatever they feel like because they do not have any ideals. But I am not ready to accept that everyone is bad in Left, hence I have invited Kerala CM. Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Omar Abdullah, MK Stalin, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi are all invited. Chandrababu Naidu and Omar Abdullah have confirmed their presence already. Arvind Kejriwal had given confirmation he will join us on Jan 19."