INDIA Bloc’s “5 Demands” To Election Commission At Mega Rally In Delhi

INDIA Bloc's '5 Demands' To Election Commission At Mega Rally In Delhi

New Delhi:

The INDIA bloc’s rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan this afternoon, was a massive show of strength where the leaders of all major Opposition parties pressed for the release of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Jharkhand’s former Chief Minister Hemant Soren. The leaders flagged concerns about the health of the country’s democracy, accusing the BJP of decimating the Opposition through the Central investigative agencies. The BJP hit back, declaring that the rally was not about saving democracy as projected but a “save family” and “hide corruption” rally.

Congress’s Priyanka Gandhi Vadra listed the five demands of the Opposition to the Election Commission that also included the provision of a level playing field before the elections.

Efforts to forcefully scuttle the finances of Opposition parties should be immediately stopped, Ms Gandhi Vadra said, without mentioning the freeze on Congress funds and the latest Income Tax notice. Action by the Enforcement Directorate, CBI and the Income Tax department should also be stopped, she said, reading out the list of demands.

The alliance also demanded a Supreme Court-monitored Special Investigation Team investigate what they called the BJP’s “extortion” of funds through the electoral bonds scheme.

The “Loktantra Bachao Rally”, the leaders said, is a mark of the INDIA bloc’s commitment to fighting, winning, and saving democracy in India.

“If the BJP wins these fixed elections and changes the Constitution, the country will be on fire,” declared Congress’s Rahul Gandhi. “You have to decide if you want democracy or dictatorship… Those who support dictatorship need to be kicked out of the country,” added party chief Mallikarjun Kharge.  

“A new energy in the politics of India has been born today… Today, the slogan for independence is being raised here… It is our independence that our Constitution and our republic are protected. We will gain this independence,” said CPM’s Sitaram Yechury.

Punjab Chief Minister and senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Bhagwant Mann declared that Arvind Kejriwal was not a man but an ideology.

“You can arrest Arvind Kejriwal, but how will you arrest his ideology? In which jail will you send the lakhs of Kejriwals that are born in India?” he said, reiterating the party stance on the arrest of the Chief Minister, which took place on the eve of the general elections in the country. Mr Kejriwal’s wife Sunita Kejriwal and Hemant Soren’s wife Kalpana Soren were also present at today’s rally.

The arrest has brought together the Opposition bloc, which was making more headlines recently over its differences than its unity.

A case in point was Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s decision to go it alone in Bengal, rejecting the agreed-upon sit-sharing formula. She even said that her membership of INDIA bloc was on hold and she would review the matter after the election.

Her party MP Derek O’Brien, however, staunchly declared today that Trinamool “very much was, is and will be part of the INDIA alliance”. “This is a fight of BJP versus democracy,” he added.

The rally also comes on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the BJP campaign in Uttar Pradesh. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, though, appeared unfazed.

Appearing at the rally, Mr Yadav said, “These people are giving the slogan of ‘400 paar’. If you are going to win more than 400 seats, then why are you scared of the AAP leader”.

“You have sent elected Chief Ministers to jail. Not just the Indians but the whole world is criticising it,” he said, without mentioning the comments that have come on the subject from the United Nations, United States and Germany.

BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi told reporters that the Opposition rally was meant to hide their acts of corruption.

“The Congress is supporting those who have looted the country as Congress has also looted throughout their tenure. From the days of Pandit Nehru, the Jeep scam to the Bofors scam; the coal scam to the commonwealth scam and the 2G scam. All these happened while the Congress was in power,” said Union Minister Pralhad Joshi.

“In Ramlila Maidan, those who put dots in between the name of this country and speak about saving the nation — they are actually there to save their family… India’s ‘tukde tukde’ is in the DNA of Congress… Yuvraj is not even ready to accept India as a nation and he also demands interference of foreign soil,” said the BJP’s Shehzad Poonawala.

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