In a show of unity, Opposition leaders cutting across party lines came together at another mega anti-BJP rally in the national capital on Wednesday.
Convened by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ‘Tanashahi Hatao, Loktantra Bachao’ rally had in attendance Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, CPI (M)’s Sitaram Yechuri, RLD’s Trilok Tyagi and LJD’s Sharad Yadav.
Rebel BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, too, attended the rally.
A massive crowd of supporters gathered at the Jantar Mantar where they raised anti-BJP slogans and expressed support for the so-called Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance).
Addressing the gathering, Kejriwal, the AAP chief, slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a host of issues and praised Banerjee for staging the dramatic dharna in protest of a failed CBI attempt at questioning Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar.
“I congratulate Mamata Didi for the thwarting the attack on the democratically-elected government by Modi,” Kejriwal said.
The Delhi CM said that the 40 CBI sleuths sent by the Centre was the PM’s attack on the Bengal CM, her government and the people of the state.
“Had the Kolkata Police Commissioner got arrested, the message would have gone that police will not have to fear the state governments but only the Centre,” Kejriwal said.
The AAP chief added that the PM wants to destroy the Constitution which guarantees powers to the states.
“Is Modi the PM of Pakistan?” asked Kejriwal, adding that the PM is fulfilling the neighbouring country’s ambition of breaking India.
Referring to the huge turnout, Kejriwal said that the people have gathered at Jantar Mantar to overthrow the Modi government.
“Dalits had hopes that country will change, everyone gave votes. But what happened? Today here at Jantar Mantar people have gathered again to overthrow the Modi government just like the 2011 revolution,” he said.
In her address, Mamata Banerjee said that the “expiry date of the Modi government is over”.
Expressing confidence in the victory of the AAP in all 7 Lok Sabha seats in New Delhi, the TMC chief said that the hour to make a United India has come.
“We have to save the country from (BJP chief) Amit Shah and Modi. They want to break the nation, we want to unite it,” she said amid huge cheers from the crowd.
Praising Banerjee and Kejriwal as “very effective leaders”, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu said that they are being harassed by the Modi government for no reason.
“I strongly condemn the attitude of Narendra Modi. He must not forget, once he himself was CM of a state,” Naidu said.
Naidu, whose party was a former ally of the BJP in the NDA government, has been one of the prominent faces in the opposition camp now.
“Kejriwal is the first man who reaches out to us when we are harassed by the Centre,” he said referring to the TDP’s protests over the non-fulfilment of promises under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014.
“Kejriwal-ji always protects us. We must support him and save the democracy,” he said.
National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah recalled the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy stating that the nation belongs to all and not Hindus or Muslims alone.
LJD leader Sharad Yadav, who has been a regular at major mahagathbandhan rallies, said, “BJP made elections so exorbitant that if Lal Bahadur Shastri and Jay Prakash Narayan contest elections, (even) they won’t be successful. Time has come to show the BJP the doors. India needs to be saved.”
Shatrughan Sinha said that he wholeheartedly supports the grand alliance and addressed Kejriwal as “my younger brother”.
Today’s rally was the second mega rally organised by the opposition against the BJP since the 19 January rally held in Kolkata.
Earlier today, Kejriwal urged the people of Delhi to come together at ‘Save Democracy Satyagraha’.
“Countless freedom fighters laid down their lives for our freedom and democracy. We cannot forget their sacrifices and remain silent to the tyranny of any dictator,” he wrote on Twitter.