With alliances being firmed up ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav is all set to attend West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee's January 19 rally in West Bengal capital Kolkata. Apart from Yadav, political heavyweights like former prime minister HD Devegowda, Delhi chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Karnataka counterpart HD Kumaraswamy and Sharad Pawar are likely to attend the opposition rally next week.
Speaking to repoters, the TMC chief earlier said, that leaders of non-BJP parties from "Kashmir to Kanyakumari" would be present at the rally, which political observers are describing as an effort on the her part to emerge as the face of the opposition ahead of the coming Lok Sabha polls.
"On January 19, you will see a huge representation from all regions of the country. Heavy-weight national leaders, including a former prime minister and several ex-chief ministers, will attend the rally," Banerjee was quoted as saying.
"Political leaders from Kashmir to Kanyakumari - former prime minister HD Devegowda, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy (both of Janata Dal-Secular), Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (Aam Admi Party), former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party chief), Sharad Pawar (Nationalist Congress Party chief and also former Maharashtra chief minister), Farooq Abdullah (National Conference chief and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister) would be among the many leaders present in the rally," she added.
With Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and her mother Sonia Gandhi deciding to skip the rally, the party would be represented by leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
Ms Banerjee said she had invited Left parties including CPI-M leader and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan but was yet to receive any confirmation from them.
Virtually conceding that Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati would not be coming, she said "perhaps she will nominate someone else to represent her party".