Kolkata: The stage is set for West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee's mega Opposition rally against the Narendra Modi government.
More than 20 national leaders, including former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha and Arun Shourie; three present chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal, Chandrababu Naidu and H D Kumaraswamy; and former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Akhilesh Yadav and Gegong Apang will attend the meeting, TMC sources said. Most of them have already arrived in the city.
"I have met Deve Gowda-ji, Hemant-ji (Hemant Soren of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha) and Akhilesh Yadav. I will meet other Opposition leaders too," Banerjee told reporters.
With Bharatiya Janata Party's recent defeats in the Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Banerjee has raised the pitch to be united against the saffron party in the 2019 general election.
Bahujan Samaj Party general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra, Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, too, have already arrived. The other leaders will either arrive on Friday night or by Saturday morning, the sources said.
A thick security blanket has been thrown on the sprawling Brigade Parade Ground -- the venue for the mega rally -- to prevent any untoward incident.
Large scale preparations have been made to ensure that it is a complete success. Besides the huge stages, 20 watch towers have been erected and 1,000 microphones and 30 LED screens put up so that the spectators can see and hear the speeches of the leaders clearly.
Lakhs of TMC supporters and workers are expected to attend the rally and huge numbers of them from various corners of the state have already started pouring into the city. They have been put up in the outskirts of the city and in some auditoriums and stadiums.
Hundreds of TMC volunteers will be on the grounds to take care of supporters.
As many as 10,000 police personnel will be deployed and around 400 police pickets have been set up to ensure foolproof security, the police said.