With Congress' West Bengal unit and Trinamool Congress not on good terms, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will give Saturday's grand opposition rally in Kolkata a miss. The rally is being organised by West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress President Mamata Banerjee.
Ms Banerjee, who shares cordial relations with Mrs Gandhi, was keen to have her presence but according to Congress sources, both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will not attend the rally. The party will be represented by Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, a veteran.
While Sonia Gandhi's participation did not look bright because of her curtailed trips owing to health concerns, there was speculation over Rahul Gandhi attending the rally.
However, the West Bengal Congress had objected to that citing that Ms Banerjee herself had skipped the swearing-in ceremonies of three Congress chief ministers - Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel - and had deputed lawmaker Dinesh Trivedi as Trinamool Congress's representative.
Moreover, the rally is largely being perceived as a platform for Ms Banerjee to make apparent her Prime Ministerial ambitions and in such a scenario Rahul Gandhi's participation is not desirable, said the source.
A host of prominent leaders from across parties opposed to the BJP have been invited for the rally billed as a show of opposition unity ahead the Lok Sabha elections.
Among those to be present at the rally include Rashtriya Janata Dal's Tejashwi Yadav, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal and Janata Dal-S leader and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda.
The participation of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, as well as the Left parties, is also not confirmed.