The stages that have been erected on Brigade Parade Ground.
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Kolkata: Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee has claimed that the 19 January rally convened by her party in Kolkata will be bigger than the one hosted by late CPI-M leader Jyoti Basu 42 years ago.

The rally, being touted as the rallying point for all anti-BJP parties in India, is being organised at the Brigade Parade Ground in the heart of the city.

“It is going to be a mega rally at Brigade. After 1977 this is going to be the first rally of such a scale. Back then, Jyoti-babu had convened the rally. Although it was not as large as the one we are going to host, he had invited several leaders from all over India,” Banerjee told reporters at Bengal state secretariat Nabanna this evening.

She held a meeting at Nabanna with senior leaders and MPs of her party to take stock of the preparations, especially as regards security and protocol for the mega rally.

“Several Chief Ministers and former Prime Ministers will be attending the rally and, hence, we need to apprise ourselves of the protocol,” she said.

“Mallikarjun Kharge will remain present from the Congress. Sonia-ji is sending him as she is not keeping well.”

According the Trinamool supremo, those who have confirmed their presence already include former PM HD Deve Gowda, his son and Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and son Omar Abdullah, DMK president MK Stalin, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh and, Lalu Prasad’s son Tejashwi Yadav.

Not only these opposition leaders, but anti-Narendra Modi BJP national leaders like Shatrughan Sinha, Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and, Babulal Marandi of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha will remain present.

“Then there will be Jignesh Mevani and Hardik Patel (from Gujarat). It is going to be a stellar political rally with leaders from Kashmir to Uttar Pradesh to Bihar being present,” Banerjee said.

She added that she had invited Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of the CPI-M but he has declined.

To accommodate so many top ranking political leaders of the country, Trinamool has erected five stages at Victoria Memorial end of the Brigade Parade Ground. Trinamool all India general secretary Subrata Bakshi today visited the spot to take stock of the arrangements.