KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee said that the January 19 Federal Front rally at Brigade Parade Grounds in Kolkata would be the biggest in 41 years since Jyoti Basu-led Left Front rode to power in the state in 1977 and would see the participation of leaders from across India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
Speaking at a press conference after an administrative and security meeting for the rally at state secretariat Nabanna here late on Tuesday evening, the West Bengal Chief Minister said: "Although Sonia Gandhi would not be present in the rally due to ill health, Opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge would represent Congress."
"Besides, leaders from Kashmir to Kanyakumari would be present at the mega event including former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao and Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, former defence minister Sharad Pawar, former Bihar deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah and Gujarat Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani," she added.
Security measures have been tightened for the Federal Front rally in which a total of five platforms would be erected of which the main platform will have a map of India and a cut out of Mamata Banerjee in the background. Metal detectors would be installed at the four entrance gates to the rally grounds.
A total of 1000 loudspeakers, 200 sound systems and 20 giant screens would be installed. The entire area would be monitored through drones and CCTV cameras, sources revealed. The rally is expected to begin at around 12 pm.
The Federal Front rally is seen as the culmination of the TMC supremo's efforts to build up a coalition of regional and national parties to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government from power in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The West Bengal Chief Minister has been sharpening her attacks against BJP government's policies since demonetisation in 2016 and has been hitting out at the Centre over Goods and Services Tax (GST), National Register of Citizenship (NRC) and other issues.