The mega rally of the opposition in Delhi, ambitiously dubbed "Mahagathbandhan 2.0" by Mamata Banerjee, ended up expositing chinks in the opposition rather than its unity this morning. The Bengal Chief Minister, one of the prime movers behind the initiative, did not show up at Jantar Mantar, Delhi's designated rally venue, till late in the afternoon. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is hosting the rally, was seen sitting at the protest venue, flanked by key Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and A Raja.
Even though the Trinamool Congress had not shared a list of the participating parties, the Left Front was a surprise entrant at the rally. While the block had always loosely been a part of the united opposition and attended the meetings hosted by the Congress, it was not invited for the January 19 rally in Kolkata in view of its bitter feud with Mamata Banerjee's party.
Days later, as Ms Banerjee launched her sit-in protest against the Centre over the showdown between the Kolkata Police and the Central Bureau of Investigation, Mr Yechury had verbally tarred both sides in the conflict.
Mr Kejriwal shares a better equation with the Left leaders. Last year, Mr Yechury had been one of the leaders who had helped break the ice between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party and initiate a conversation between Mr Kejriwal and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
Mamata Banerjee, who has been camping out in Delhi since last night, spent the morning visiting the Parliament building, where she was caught praying in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
"It is the last day of Parliament, so we prayed to Bapu (Mahatma Gandhi) that remove BJP and Modi babu and save the country. Keep everybody safe," she told the assembled reporters. She reached the protest site only after the Left leaders had left the stage.
Earlier today, the Congress had turned out in strength at the rally. Accompanied by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was seen at the protest site.
The Gandhi's had also given the Kolkata rally a miss, but Mr Gandhi had deputed senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Abhishek Manu Singhvi to represent the party.
Ms Banerjee's Trinamool Congress is also at loggerheads with the Congress at the state level, where it is being regularly targetted by the party's state leaders.
Today in Parliament, Ms Banerjee, furious with state Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury's attack over the Saradha scam, refused to calm down when Sonia Gandhi reached out to her. "We will remember," declared the Bengal Chief Minister when she encountered Sonia Gandhi at parliament's Central Hall.
During the campaign for the 2016 West Bengal polls, the Congress and Rahul Gandhi had repeatedly accused Mamata Banerjee of corruption linked to the chit fund cases.
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