Kolkata: Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s mega event “United India” rally — a rally for a grand alliance of Opposition parties ahead of the Lok Sabha elections — has kick-started on Saturday in Kolkata.

Several political leaders reached Kolkata on Friday evening itself to attend the mega rally on the iconic brigade parade ground. However, the real question remains: Who all will be left to do business with BJP after the event?

Whatever may be the outcome, it is, no doubt, the biggest day for Banerjee ever since she was sworn in as the chief minister of the state in 2011. The importance of the rally for the TMC chief is quite evident from the innumerable ‘Brigade Cholo’ (Let’s go to Brigade ground) posters and graffiti put up across the city, be it a small village in Murshidabad or an upscale south Kolkata neighbourhood. 

So what all do we know about this mega event?


Several political leaders, including HD Deve Gowda, Farooq Abdullah and Hemant Soren, are attending the mega rally. 

Though Rahul Gandhi had to give in to pressure to stay away from the event, the list of people attending is nevertheless an impressive one. He has sent Mallikarjun Kharge and Abhishek Manu Singhvi as representatives of the Congress.

Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao also chose to stay away. This comes close on the heels of his meeting with Prime Minister Modi at Delhi. 

The Biju Janata Dal or BJD too gave the rally a miss. The CPI(M) also remained absent.

Also, YSR Congress Party gave the “United India” rally a miss. 

What is interesting is that newbies like Hardik Patel were invited to attend the gala event of the Opposition parties. 

Here is a list of people who are attending the “United India” rally:

1. Mallikarjun Kharge and Abhishek Manu Singhvi (Congress)
2. Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP)
3. Akhilesh Yadav (SP)
4. MK Stalin (DMK)
5. Sharad Yadav (LJD)
6. Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel (NCP)
7. HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy (JDS)
8. Ajit Singh (RLD)
9. Farooq Abdullah (NC)
10. Chandrababu Naidu (TDP)
11. Hemant Soren (JMM)
12. Arun Shourie and Shatrughan Sinha (BJP rebels)
13. Gegong Apang (Recently resigned from BJP)
14. Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani and others

What’s special?

1.    In a blatant violation of the green norms, massive concrete structures were erected on the brigade parade ground. 

2.    Though the ground can hold around seven lakh people at a time, the TMC claimed that around 40 lakh people are expected to show up. 

3.    25 LED screens have been put up across the ground for better visibility.

4.    The ground will have 22 zones and DCP level IPS officers will be responsible for the security of each zones.

5.    TMC has authorised 300 party volunteers to help the cops to manage the crowd.

Public opinion is divided between Mamata Banerjee emerging as the consensus Opposition candidate against PM Modi and the Congress playing spoilsports to Rahul Gandhi’s ambitions.