Kolkata: Former Union Ministers Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha — who served in late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet, but are bitterly opposed to the Modi regime — will be part of the January 19 Brigade Rally convened by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee here.
Many opposition leaders are due to attend the rally, believed to be a precursor to a ‘federal front’ proposed to be formed against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
Trinamool sources said all three have confirmed their participation.
Former Union Finance and External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha had resigned from the BJP last year and even launched a countrywide campaign against the present government and his old party.
Patna Sahib MP and actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha is a BJP rebel, who never misses an opportunity to take a dig at Modi.
The actor-politician’s relations with the BJP are said to be on the brink, and some party leaders have suggested he should quit the party instead of “damaging” it from inside.
An eminent journalist, Shourie served as a World Bank economist for sometime and held the office of the Minister of Disinvestment, Communication and Information Technology under Vajpayee.
Banerjee had called on all three leaders during her trip to Delhi.
Former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Gegong Apang, who resigned from the BJP on Tuesday saying it was no longer following the principles of Vajpayee, would also take part in the rally.
Besides, Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha would also be present on the stage alongside the Trinamool supremo.
DMK President M.K. Stalin, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh and Lalu Prasad’s son Tejashwi Yadav, besides Janata Dal Chief Sharad Yadav would also be among the political leaders at the rally.
Though Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati has decided to stay away, she has deputed senior leader Satish Chandra Mishra, sources said.
Banerjee has already announced that former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Karnataka counterpart H.D. Kumaraswamy, as also political heavyweights like Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav would address the rally.
While Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi are giving the rally a miss, the party would be represented by leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
Banerjee said she had invited the Left parties, including CPI-M leader and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, but was yet to receive any confirmation.
National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah have also confirmed their participation.
Banerjee said the leaders would start coming From Friday.
“Akhilesh, Sharad Yadav and Sharad Pawar, Deve Gowda, Stalin, Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Babulal Marandi, Gegong Apang, Kumaraswamy will be coming on Friday. Arvind Kejriwal and Tejashwi will land on Saturday morning,” she said.
Kharge will be accompanied by Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who won the Rajya Sabha election from West Bengal with Trinamool’s support.