Absentees at Mamata rally too tell a story

Last Updated 08 February 2019, 12:36 IST

Mamata Banerjee's Kolkata rally has sent a message not for its participation but for the absence of certain leaders and parties, in what was dubbed as a show of unity against the Narendra Modi-led BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Naveen Patnaik's BJD, K Chandrasekhar Rao's TRS and Y S Jaganmohan Reddy's YSR Congress were absent at the Brigade Ground rally, which saw the participation of leaders from over a dozen Opposition parties.

Similarly, top leaders like Congress president Rahul Gandhi, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi as well as BSP supremo Mayawati also gave a miss to the rally.

Though she or her party may not publicly say so, the Trinamool Congress boss organised the show of strength in Kolkata with an aim to showcase herself as a possible prime ministerial choice of the Opposition bloc.

This itself has forced some of the leaders to skip the rally though they deputed party leaders for the event.

Rahul, whom the Congress would seek to project as the prime ministerial face, sent a message of unity but skipped the meet.

Similarly, Mayawati also skipped the meet in an apparent move not to give any message of supporting Mamata as she herself is an aspirant.

For the moment, the move to cobble up a Federal Front has also suffered a blow with the TRS chief not attending the meet.

While the TRS said that he was busy with Assembly session in Telangana, Mamata has lately not been very enthusiastic about giving Rao the leadership role in alliance formation.

Mamata, who had initiated the move for a Federal Front, had hosted him in Kolkata but was silent about his move to form an anti-Congress, anti-BJP coalition.

For Rao, the presence of TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu was another spoiler.

Another Andhra Pradesh leader Y S Jaganmohan Reddy also kept away from the Kolkata rally.

Opposition leaders feel that parties like the BJD, the TRS and the YSR Congress are keeping their options open and would not give any signal as to which way they would swing.

"They are not keeping options to support the BJP also," a senior leader said.

(Published 19 January 2019, 14:16 IST)

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