At INDIA bloc rally in Delhi, Opposition leaders say BJP has destroyed the country

The demonstration in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan comes just days after the Enforcement Directorate arrested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in connection with the liquor policy case.
INDIA Bloc leaders at Ramlila Maidan
INDIA Bloc leaders at Ramlila MaidanX
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Opposition leaders used everything from cricket analogies to poems laced with barbs aimed at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to give expression to their thoughts at the ‘Loktantra Bachao’ (Save Democracy) rally organised by the INDIA bloc in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on Sunday, March 31. The demonstration comes just days after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in connection with the liquor policy case.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said that the country will not be prosperous until Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ideology is removed from power. Referring to Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that BJP has been involved in ‘match-fixing’, he said that PM Modi has dug up the ground and was asking the Opposition to play cricket there. “There is no level playing field. This is a stage for 'unity in diversity’. The rally was organised with just one aim – to unite the opposition. BJP and RSS are like poison. Do not taste it. They have destroyed the country,” he added.

Rahul Gandhi said two of the players have been arrested even before the match, in this context the Lok Sabha elections, has begun. “This is not an election of votes but a fight to save democracy and the Constitution. Our bank accounts have been frozen. Why was this done just ahead of the elections? If you do not vote judiciously, the match-fixer [BJP] will win,” he said.

Recalling BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde’s comments that the BJP will change the Constitution if it gets more than 400 seats, Rahul Gandhi said it was not unintentional and that the remarks were made to test the idea. “Remember, the Constitution is the voice of the people. The day it is finished, the country will be finished,” he added.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi laid out five demands during her speech: 

  1. The Election Commission of India should ensure level playing field in the Lok Sabha polls

  2. The Election Commission should stop forceful action of Income Tax, CBI, and ED

  3. Immediate release of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

  4. Stop strangling opposition parties financially

  5. A Special Investigative Team formed by the Supreme Court to probe into Electoral Bonds

    Arvind Kejriwal’s wife Sunita read out the Delhi Chief Minister’s message from jail. The letter invites 140 crore Indians to make a new India and lists out six promises that the INDIA bloc will fulfil if voted to power. “People of Delhi have faced injustice in the last 75 years. We will give statehood to Delhi if the INDIA bloc comes to power," Kejriwal said in his letter.

The other promises include no power cuts with 24x7 electricity, free electricity for the poor across the country, building government schools in all areas to ensure quality education for all irrespective of their economic background, establishing mohalla clinics in every village, along with multi-speciality hospitals to provide proper and free treatment to every citizen, and ensuring that farmers receive Minimum Support Price (MSP) as per the Swaminathan Report.

Kalpana, Hemant Soren’s wife, said the BJP government was destroying the guarantees of Dr BR Ambedkar’s Constitution. “I am standing in front of you as the voice of 50% of India’s women population and 9% of the tribal community. The people of the country are bigger than any political party or leader. This sea of people today proves that there is an opposition to the dictatorship that have decided to destroy the country.”

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said that Arvind Kejriwal was not just a person but the name of an ideology. “What does the BJP think of themselves? They have jailed those who built schools and hospitals, they have frozen the Congress’ bank accounts. They have jailed Arvind Kejriwal and Hemant Soren. Are you the owner of this house? No, the owners of this house are the 140 crore people of this country,” he said.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that if Kejriwal were to join the BJP, he would suddenly be praised for his honesty. Pointing out the induction of Jyotiraditya Scindia and Milind Deora into the BJP, she said the party does not have the right to criticise dynasty politics. 

Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said, “If we seek freedom from corruption, unemployment, and inflation in the country, then we should seek freedom from the BJP government.”

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders Derek O’Brien and Sagarika Ghose stated that the party has not quit the INDIA bloc. “Let me first state that the TMC very much was and will be part of the INDIA bloc. This is a fight between BJP and democracy, a fight between Modi guarantee and zero warranty,” Derek O’Brien said.

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