Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha - one of the leaders attending the opposition rally in Kolkata - came down heavily on the Narendra Modi government which, he said, was trying to weaken the democratic institutions in the country.
Addressing "United India Rally" being organised by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Mr Sinha said that the opposition leaders had gathered at the mega-rally not to remove one man, but the kind of thought and ideology he stands for. "Modiji is not the issue here, issues are the issue. There is no democratic institution in this country that this government has not compromised," he said.
Mr Sinha, a former minister in the NDA government and a known critic of the PM, said democracy has been under attack under the present government. "While praising the government was "desh bhakti"(patriotism), criticising it is "desh drohi" (sedition)," he said.
The former BJP leader also accused the BJP government of manipulating the developmental statistics to downgrade the previous governments. "After Independence this is the first government which has been presenting decorated and inflated developmental statistics to befool people," he said apparently referring to the Niti Aayog downgrading GDP growth rate during UPA time.
Mr Sinha, who was in a committee to find solution to the Kashmir problem said when he had suggested to talk to the cross-section of people in the environment of love, he was branded a "Pakistani agent".
The "United India Rally" being organised by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee at Kolkata's Brigade Parade Ground today has received a roaring response from opposition leaders as well as the public, with lakhs gathering at the venue.
More than 20 national leaders, including three present chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal, Chandrababu Naidu and H D Kumaraswamy are attending the event.
Although Congress president Rahul Gandhi could not make it to the event, he had extended his support in a letter addressed to the Trinamool chief yesterday. All the speakers at the event, including Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayanth Choudhary, termed the event as a response to the "dark days" the Narendra Modi government had brought upon the country.