Kolkata (West Bengal): Key opposition leaders including SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav, DMK president MK Stalin, former prime minister Deve Gowda, and TDP Chief Chandrababu Naidu met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ahead of the TMC-led mega rally on Saturday. Taking to Twitter, the TMC Chief welcomed the leaders' participation in the 'United India Rally.' Only few hours to go for the historic 'United India Rally' at Brigade Parade Grounds. I welcome all national leaders, supporters and lakhs of people to participate in today's rally to pledge to build a stronger, progressive and united India." she tweeted.
Among those who are expected to be a part of the rally include National Conference supremo Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejaswi Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Satish Misra, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh and leader Jayant Chaudhary, former union minister and BJP dissident Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel, Opposition leader in Mizoram Lalduwahawma, former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Gegong Apang, former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, and Gujarat independent MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani.
Though Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi will be skipping the rally, the party would be represented by senior Congress leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge and Abhishek Manu Singhvi. On Friday, Rahul wrote to the TMC chief extending support to the mega rally. "We commend the great people of Bengal who have historically been at the forefront of defending our ideals. I extend my support to Mamata Di on this show of unity and hope that we send a powerful message of a united India together," the letter read.
Anticipating heavy rush of commuters in the wake of the TMC-led rally at the Brigade Parade Ground, the Kolkata Metro, which operates under the Ministry of Railways, has beefed up its security arrangements by deploying additional forces apart from the regular contingent. Additional RPF Personnel including officers and staff have been roped in for strategic deployment at all stations to tackle any untoward incident.
Commandos will be deployed at Dum Dum, Esplanade and Maidan Stations. Women RPF personnel will also be deployed in adequate numbers at various stations. Mamata has been touring the country since the last one year in an effort to shore up a strong and united opposition front to fight the Lok Sabha elections against the BJP.