Mumbai: A rally organised by some activists in Mumbai has turned into a staging ground of sorts for the opposition parties to use as a springboard for a multi-pronged offensive against the Modi government, in what is also being seen as a hint at developing a pan-India opposition unity ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
Opposition leaders Sharad Pawar, Sharad Yadav, D Raja, Hardik Patel, Omar Abdullah, Dinesh Trivedi and Sushilkumar Shinde met in Mumbai today ahead of “Save the Constitution” march.
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar had announced that he would be joining the march and had invited other parties as well.
The meeting took place at the south Mumbai home of leader of opposition in Maharashtra assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, people familiar with the matter said. NCP leaders Praful Patel and DP Tripathi and former parliamentarian Ram Jethmalani were also present, news agency PTI reported.
Former union minister Dinesh Trivedi was Mamata Banerjee’s pick from the Trinamool Congress for the Mumbai meeting.
The “Save the Constitution” march is being seen as an attempt to consolidate anti-BJP forces ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
mamata banerjee pti
Mamata Banerjee’s sent Dinesh Trivedi from the Trinamool Congress for the Mumbai meeting
Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan and Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam will also take part in the march. Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, is expected to attend.
Independent parliamentarian from Maharashtra Raju Shetti, the convener of “Save the Constitution” march, who was also present at the meeting, said participants will gather at Dr BR Ambedkars statue near Mumbai university and walk to Shivaji Maharaj’s statue at the Gateway of India. “This will be a silent morcha (march). After reaching the Gateway (of India), people will stage a sit-in for some time. There will be no speeches,” he said.
The Maharashtra unit of the BJP too has organised a “Tiranga Yatra” in Mumbai today to check any fallout as a result of a large number of heavyweight opposition leaders coming together on a single day in one location.
Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar said several ministers, MPs and MLAs will participate in the yatra. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will address the gathering when it converges at Kamgar Maidan, he said.
The procession will start from Chaityabhumi, the memorial of BR Ambedkar in Dadar, before reaching Kamgar Maidan in central Mumbai.