‘Bachao, bachao, bachao’: PM Modi says opposition was ‘pleading for help’ at Kolkata rally

Silvassa, Gujarat: Taking potshots at the mega rally of anti-BJP parties called TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called the opposition’s proposed ‘mahagathbandhan’ a combination of those he prevented from looting the country.

Modi’s remarks came at a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally in Silvassa, in the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli as opposition parties staged a show of strength in Kolkata. “Poori jamaat” (whole opposition) had gathered in West Bengal,and was “pleading for help”, said Modi.

The PM projected the coming general election as a fight between “positivity and negativity”, “development and corruption” and “mahagathbandhan and the people of India”.

“People who used to slam the Congress left, right and centre, are today standing with that party. This mahagathbandhan is not just against Modi but also against the people of India,” Modi said.

“A party with only one MLA (in West Bengal) is giving them sleepless nights. This is because we are followers of truth… Today, the entire opposition has come together and is shouting ‘bachao, bachao, bachao’,” he said.

On Saturday, leaders from 22 opposition parties came together at a mega rally in Kolkata and declared that they will fight unitedly to oust the Modi government which has “passed its expiry date”.

Several speakers called for putting up a joint candidate in each constituency to take on the BJP and “save the country” from what was described as “the poison of communalism and vendetta politics”.

The issue of prime ministership would be decided after the polls and the regional parties would play an important role, they said.

The leaders decided to hold opposition rallies next in Andhra Pradesh capital Amravati and New Delhi. Chief ministers N Chandrababu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal and H D Kumaraswamy attended the parade ground rally.

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, National Conference chairman Farooq Abdullah, socialist leader Sharad Yadav and DMK leader M K Stalin were there. Former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and dissident BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha also sat on the dais.

Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel was among the early speakers.

Also present were Benoy Tamang of GJM and three leaders from the northeast — Badruddin Ajmal of AIDUF of Assam, Lalduhawma of Zoram Nationalist Party of Mizoram and former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Gegong Apang, who quit the BJP on Tuesday.

The Congress was represented by Mallikarjun Kharge and Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Kharge read out a message from UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi wishing success to the rally.