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Odisha: BJD skips ‘united opposition rally’ in Kolkata

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is not participating in the “united opposition rally” in Kolkata in pursuance of its policy of keeping equi-distance from both the BJP and the Congress, a party spokesperson said.

He also said that his party was not invited to attend the rally to be held at the historic Brigade Parade ground on Saturday.

“Our leader Naveen Patnaik has already made it clear about our party’s stand that we have been maintaining equal distance from both BJP and Congress. And, we are a regional party and our interest is only for Odisha,” said BJD Spokesperson Pratap Deb.

Earlier, BJD President and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had told the media that his party will not be a part of the Mahagathbandhan, a national level alliance against the BJP-led government at the Centre.

Notably, the mega rally is being organised by TMC President and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to show opposition unity ahead of the crucial general election this year.

It is believed that the opposition’s campaign is likely to provide the contours of a federal front ahead of the elections.

Convened by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who is aiming to project herself as the face of the opposition, the rally at noon is being attended by the who’s who of Indian politics — a former prime minister, several current and former chief ministers and stalwarts from various political outfits from across the country.

Banerjee has arranged for a tea party for her guests at 4 pm on Saturday after the rally gets over.

Over 20 leaders from more than ten parties are attending the rally and the tea party.

Among them are Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam chief Chandrababu Naidu, DMK head M.K. Stalin, Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah (both National Conference).

Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), Ajit Singh and Jayant Chowdhury (both RLD), former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Gegong Apang, Hemant Soren of JMM, Patidar movement leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and Mizoram opposition leader Pu Lalduhoma.