Opposition presented a secular alternative at the Centre, say 22 parties at Kolkata Rally

Leaders from 22 parties were present at the ‘United India Rally’ in Kolkata, organised by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

Chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), H.D. Kumaraswamy (Karnataka) and N. Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh) were also present, apart from party heads Akhilesh Yadav (SP), M.K. Stalin (DMK), Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), Farooq Abdullah (National Conference) and Sharad Pawar (Nationalist Congress Party), Mallikarjun Kharge and Abhishek Manu Singhvi (INC).

Though Congress president Rahul Gandhi expressed support to the rally, he could not attend. The party was represented by Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Former BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and Patidar leader Hardik Patel were also present.

“They have so many scams. PM says Na Khaunga, Na Khaane Dunga (Won’t take bribes, won’t let anyone take bribes). But he’s giving to Adani, Ambani,” said Mallikarjun Kharge.

“Modi is a factory, wholesaler, distributor of lies. He will say one lie and give 10 for free,” RJD Leader Tejashwi Yadav said.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said that idea of a united opposition was inspired by the BJP-led alliance government.

“Unemployment is increasing. Farmers are committing suicide. People responsible should be thrown out,” said Sharad Pawar.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said “the prime minister is a publicity PM, but what we want is a performing prime minister.”

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah insisted on the return of the ballot paper for a fair selection process. Calling the electronic voting machine (EVM) a “thief”, the National Conference leader said no country in the world uses this machine.

“We have one aim, that is change. I am seeing a lot of the younger generation. You have a lot of energy. I have been asked, why do you run away from the BJP? If telling the truth is running away, then yes I am a Baaghi. But my loyalty is to Indian people. I am trying to show the party a mirror,” said Shatrughan Sinha.

“Chase Modi-Amit Shah away from the country if you’re a true patriot,” says Arvind Kejriwal.

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