INDIA bloc rally updates | Priyanka Gandhi lists demands; Oppn must fight LS polls unitedly, says Kharge

Rahul Gandhi, Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar, Akhilesh Yadav, Derek O ‘Brien, Mehbooba Mufti, and Sunita Kejriwal addressed the rally

March 31, 2024 07:51 am | Updated 05:10 pm IST

Opposition leaders share the stage during the INDIA ‘Maharally’ at Ram Lila Maidan in New Delhi on March 31, 2024.

Opposition leaders share the stage during the INDIA ‘Maharally’ at Ram Lila Maidan in New Delhi on March 31, 2024. | Photo Credit: Shashi Shekhar Kashyap

A ‘Maharally’ was organised at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on March 31 to “safeguard” to speak against many issues including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest by the ED, and the “misuse” of Central probe agencies against Opposition leaders by the BJP-led Centre. 

Top INDIA bloc leaders gathered at the Ramlila Maidan for the maharally. Chief Minister Kejriwal’s wife Sunita Kejriwal and JMM leader Hemant Soren’s wife Kalpana Soren were also addressed the gathering, castigating the Central government over the arrest of their husbands in corruption cases.

Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to do “match-fixing” in the Lok Sabha polls and asserted that if the BJP succeeds in its endeavours, the country’s Constitution will be changed and people’s rights taken away.

Follow The Hindu for more updates on the rally: 

  • March 31, 2024 16:41
    ‘Vote to save democracy’: Akhilesh, Champai Soren at INDIA bloc rally

    Accusing the ruling BJP of using central agencies to attack opposition leaders, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday urged people to vote against the party in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls if they wanted to save democracy in the country.

    Addressing the INDIA bloc’s ‘Save Democracy’ rally at the Ramlila Maidan here, the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister questioned why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is using agencies against the opposition if it is confident of crossing the 400-seat mark in the upcoming polls.

    “If you are so confident of crossing 400 (Lok Sabha seats in polls), why are you scared of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders? You sent Arvind Kejriwal to jail... Hemant Soren was sent to jail...” Yadav said.

    “The nation knows they have used ED, CBI to extort donations. To suppress this, false cases are being imposed on opposition leaders,” he said.

    -PTI

  • March 31, 2024 16:30
    Priyanka Gandhi urges EC to ensure level-playing field in LS polls

    The opposition INDIA bloc on Sunday urged the Election Commission to ensure a level-playing field in the Lok Sabha polls and asserted that despite the BJP creating “undemocratic obstacles”, the alliance is committed to fight, win and save the country’s democracy.

    Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra read out the demands of the opposition alliance at the ‘Loktantra Bachao Rally’ at the Ramlila ground here.

    She said the Election Commission should ensure a level playing field for all parties in Lok Sabha elections.

    The poll panel should stop the Enforcement Directorate, CBI and the Income Tax department’s actions against opposition parties being taken to adversely impact the elections, the Congress leader demanded, adding that former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal be immediately released.

    -PTI

  • March 31, 2024 16:11
    RSS-BJP like poison, oppn must fight LS polls unitedly: Kharge

    Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday described the RSS-BJP combine as “poison” that has “destroyed” the country, and called on all opposition parties to unite to defeat the ruling party in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

    This election is to save democracy, the country and the Constitution, he said at ‘Loktantra Bachao’ rally of the opposition INDIA bloc at the Ramlila Maidan here.

    The rally seeks to highlight the “threat to democracy” after the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. The wives of both Kejriwal and Soren were also present at the rally and addressed it.

    “We need to unite and only then will we be able to fight the BJP. We won’t succeed if we keep attacking and fighting each other,” Kharge said.

    “This election is for saving democracy and the Constitution and we must fight unitedly,” he said.

    -PTI

  • March 31, 2024 15:28
    Priyanka Gandhi Vadra reads out INDIA bloc’s demands

    Priyanka Gandhi Vadra reads out five demands of the INDIA Bloc

    1) The Election Commission should ensure a level playing field for the 2024 elections2) EC should stop the misuse of IT, ED and the CBI and stop the coercive action taken against the Opposition parties3) Hemant Soren, Arvind Kejriwal should be freed4) The financial clampdown on Opposition parties before the election should be stopped5) Supreme Court should institute an SIT to probe the electoral bonds and collection of money by the BJP through their vindictive ways

  • March 31, 2024 15:10
    This is a fight against BJP’s corruption: Mr. Kharge

    Mr. Kharge said that defeating the BJP is not about anyone person, but it is about providing employment, bringing down inflation, and providing MSP for farmers. “Defeat the BJP, not just for one person -- not for Arvind Kejriwal alone or Hemant Soren alone -- it is to save everyone. The 2024 election is for employment for youth, it will be fought on the issue of rising inflation, on MSP for farmers, it is to guarantee equal participation. This is a fight against BJP’s corruption and for the Indian constitution. I appeal all of you to stay united,” he said.He appealed to all Opposition parties to come together for this. “I appeal especially to the Punjab CM to work with us. In Kerala, we fight Mr. Yechury and Mr. Raja’s party, but we stand together here. If Constitution is saved every person will be saved,” he said.

  • March 31, 2024 15:01
    PM Modi doesn’t believe in democracy: Mallikarjun Kharge

    “Why are so many party leaders sitting here? They are all here- to save this country, its constitution and its people. PM Modi doesn’t want democracy he believes in dictatorship,” Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said addressing the INDIA bloc rally.

    “If BJP had drafted the Constitution, they would not have allowed women to vote. But Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Baba Saheb Ambedkar brought in adult franchise, giving everyone right to vote, woman or man,” he added.

  • March 31, 2024 14:52
    Rahul Gandhi appeals for votes

    “We have to run the campaign, we want to send our leaders to different states, get posters published, but all our resources are clamped down. What kind of election is this-- leaders are intimidated, governments are toppled using money power, opposition leaders are arrested. Narendra Modi is not alone in this match fixing. He is aided by three or four of his corporate friends,” Rahul Gandhi said.

    “If you do not vote with full force, their match-fixing will succeed; if that succeeds, Constitution will be destroyed,” he added.

  • March 31, 2024 14:33
    Narendra Modi is trying to do match fixing in election: Rahul Gandhi

    Likening the election to a cricket match and accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to fix the election result, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “Have you heard the word “match fixing”? When a match is won after pressurising the umpire, buying out the player and intimidating captain. Elections are ahead of us. Who chose the umpire? Narendra Modi.”

    “And even before the election, they have arrested two of our players. Narendra Modi is trying to fix this election. Even after pressuring the media, fixing the evms, capturing the social media - they will not cross 180 seats. Congress is the biggest opposition party and in middle of the elections they have frozen all our accounts,” he added.

  • March 31, 2024 14:30
    Why arrest CMs if you’re confident of winning: Akhilesh Yadav

    “They raise the slogan that they will cross 400, if they were indeed winning 400 seats, then what worries you, why did you arrest Arvind Kejriwal and Hemant Soren,” Akhilesh Yadav, SP President and Former UP CM said at the rally.

    “I’m appealing to you, defeat them, send them back. You can save this country only through your vote... your vote alone can save our constitution, reservation and the 90% population in the PDA category (P - pichre meaning backward, D - Dalit, and A - alpasankhyak meaning minority)

  • March 31, 2024 14:14
    Support INDIA bloc if you want freedom from dictatorship: Sitharam Yechury

    “If you want freedom from corruption and dictatorship, you have to support the secular front of INDIA bloc,” Sitaram Yechury General Secretary CPI(M) said at the rally.

    He raised the slogan “Judega Bharat, Jeetega INDIA”

  • March 31, 2024 14:04
    This is undeclared emergency: Tiruchi Siva reads out TN CM Stalin’s message

    Tiruchi Siva, Rajya Sabha leader DMK, reads out Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin’s message: The BJP high command has been committing errors in desperation. The very word INDIA became bitter for them after formation of our alliance. They have been engaging in cheap tactics- toppling elected governments and unleashing the central agencies such as IT, ED, CBI. Cases against those who join them are dropped. But who dares to stand against them is punished. This is undeclared emergency. These arrests only strengthen our resolve to fight the BJP.

  • March 31, 2024 14:00
    We want a white paper on Pulwama incident: Derek O’Brien

    “After the tragedy of Pulwama, former Governor Satyapal Malik has publicly said that Narendra Modi did not want the truth come out. Why did he do cheap politics? We want truth to come out, we demand a white paper on the incident,” TMC Rajya Sabha Leader Derek O’ Brien said.

    Announcing his party’s support to arrested Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Hemant Soren, Mr. O’Brien said, “Arvind Kejriwal and Hemant Soren, you are with us in spirit. Let me state that AITC was and is with INDIA bloc. Modi guarantee has zero warranty.”

  • March 31, 2024 13:51
    Modi failed to deliver promise to double farmers’ income: Akhilesh Yadav

    “They have set a target of 400 seats, it is as if they have already fixed the EVM machine,” Tejashwi Yadav, RJD leader and former Deputy CM of Uttar Pradesh said at the rally.

    Calling out the Prime Minister over farmers’ protest and the BJP’s promise to double farmers’ income, Mr. Yadav said, “Modi ji has no time to meet farmers, but he has time to meet Priyanka Chopra, or give interviews to Akshay Kumar and Bill Gates. He promised to double the farmer’s income but didn’t deliver the promise.”

  • March 31, 2024 13:30
    We cannot be ruled by a fascist agenda: D Raja

    Communist Party of India general secretary D Raja, addressing the rally, said, “I condem the arrest of elected leaders like (Delhi CM) Arvind Kejriwal, (Jharkhand CM) Hemant Soren and others.”

    Accusing the BJP and RSS of “rewriting our Constitution”, Mr. Raja said, “We cannot be ruled by a fascist agenda. India will become a theocratic state if (Prime Minister) Modi has his way.”

    “The country is facing a calamity and we have to save it,” he added. 

  • March 31, 2024 13:19
    “If you give opportunity to INDIA bloc, we’ll build a great nation,” says Sunita Kejriwal while reading out husband and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s message from ED custody
  • March 31, 2024 13:11
    Kejriwal will not stay in jail for long: Sunita Kejriwal

    Sunita Kejriwal read a message from her husband and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the rally and said, “I am not asking you for a vote today. I am in jail and it gives me a lot of time to think. Bharat mata is in pain today.”

    “Let’s build a new India. A country in which every person has a full stomach , there is employment , good education access to health care to all.. electricity across the country .. where people from across the world come here to study.. a country without hate and country where there is justice,” Ms. Sunita added, reading out a message from Mr. Kejriwal.

    Hitting out at the Modi government, Ms. Sunita said, “Modiji put my husband is jail. Kejriwal will not stay in jail for long.. he is like a freedom fighter that died for our country.”

  • March 31, 2024 12:56
    Without any reason people are being put in jail: Mehbooba Mufti

    PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti, speaking during the rally said, India is going through troubled times, and without any reason or investigation people are being put in jail. 

    “We have seen this happening in Kashmir and now it’s happening across the country. Jammu and Kashmir is a laboratory to test plans and then these plans are implemented across the country,” Ms, Mufti said. 

    If Mr. Kejriwal joins the BJP all the allegations against him will disappear, she added. 

  • March 31, 2024 12:47
    I have come to support two sisters Kalpana, Sunita: Uddhav Thackeray

    Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray, speaking during the rally, said this is not a campaign rally. 

    “I have come to support our two sisters Kalpana and Sunita, and to tell them that the entire country is supporting them as the dictatorial BJP has put their husbands in jail,” he said. 

    The ED, Income Tax and CBI are BJP’s partners, and the time has come for India to rise and protect democracy, he added. 

    Calling the ruling party a washing machine, Mr. Thackeray said people they have alleged corrupt turn clean after joining the party. 

    “The farmers wanted to come to Delhi but the BJP did not let them,” the Shiv Sena leader said. The government that terms farmers terrorists needs to go, and the farmers need to ensure the BJP does not come to Delhi, he added. 

  • March 31, 2024 12:32
    Rahul Gandhi, Uddhav Thackeray, Aditya Thackeray, Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yetchuri, Akhilesh Yadav, Derek O ‘Brien, Mehbooba Mufti, Sunita Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann arrive at the rally
  • March 31, 2024 12:30
    Time has come to act to free the country from dictatorial government: AAP’s Gopal Rai

    AAP Delhi Convenor Gopal Rai on Sunday said the time has come to free the country from this dictatorial government. “ Karo Ya Maro, the time has come to act now to free the country from this dictatorial government. Or it will be too late,” Mr. Rai said. 

    He also asked people to spend the next two months campaigning hard to defeat the BJP and chart a brighter future for the country. 

  • March 31, 2024 11:41
    Supporters at INDIA bloc rally

    WhatsApp Image 2024-03-31 at 11.39.57.jpeg

  • March 31, 2024 11:01
    Not ‘save democracy’ but ‘save family’, ‘hide corruption’ rally: BJP on Oppn meeting

    The BJP on Sunday slammed the opposition INDIA bloc’s rally at Ramlila ground here, saying it is not a “save democracy” meeting as projected but a “save family” and “hide corruption” rally. 

    Ramlila ground once hosted “India against corruption” movement under the leadership of Anna Hazare, Trivedi said, adding that it is hosting on Sunday a rally for “everybody with corruption”. 

    PTI

  • March 31, 2024 09:52
    Arvind Kejriwal’s wife to attend

    Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s wife Sunita will attend the INDIA bloc rally at Ramlila Maidan on Sunday and read out a message from her husband who is in the Enforcement Directorate custody in connection with an excise policy-linked case, AAP sources said.

    “Arvind Kejriwal’s wife Sunita will participate in the INDIA bloc’s maha rally at Ramlila Maidan. She will read out her husband’s message from ED custody. It will be his message for the country,” a party source said.

    PTI

  • March 31, 2024 09:34
    Heavy police deployment for INDIA bloc rally

    Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in strength in central Delhi ahead of a rally by INDIA bloc leaders at the Ramlila Maidan here on Sunday, officials said. 

    The Delhi Police has allowed the rally with certain conditions, including no march, no tractor trollies, and no weapons.

    Although the rally has been allowed, prohibitory orders will remain imposed at the DDU Marg, where the offices of political parties are located, an officer said. 

    No march will be allowed from the Ramlila Maidan, he said, adding that strict action will be taken if any violation take place. “We have made elaborate security arrangements so that the general public doesn’t face any inconvenience due to the rally,” a senior police officer said. The traffic police have also been deployed to regulate the traffic and parking near the ground, he said. 

    Every visitor will be checked with door frame metal detectors and hand-held machines at the entry gates, he said.

    The Delhi Police has also installed CCTV cameras and set up a control room centre from where they could watch the activities at the Ramlila Maidan. 

    PTI

  • March 31, 2024 08:38
    First public meeting of INDIA bloc leaders since coalition was founded on June 23

    This will be the first public meeting of the INDIA bloc leaders since the coalition was founded on June 23 last year in Patna. The alliance in September last year had announced a public rally in Bhopal coinciding with the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, but that never materialised. The more recent efforts – one in Patna after RJD’s Jan Vishwas Rally last month and the March 17 rally in Mumbai at the close of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, saw only scant presence from the Opposition ranks. 

    The Opposition parties had failed to take a similar step when former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren was arrested. 

    The call on whether Arvind Kejriwal’s wife Sunita Kejriwal will address the ‘Maharally’ will be taken later, he said.

  • March 31, 2024 07:59
    Rally to “safeguard country’s interests and democracy”

    The Congress has asserted that the INDIA opposition bloc’s “Loktantra bachao rally” to be held at the Ramlila Maidan here is aimed at saving the Constitution and democracy and not any particular person. 

    “It is not a person-specific rally. That is why it is called Loktantra Bachao Rally. This is not one party’s rally, about 27-28 parties are involved in it. All constituents of the INDIA janbandhan will be taking part in the rally,” Mr. Ramesh said.

    Mr. Ramesh said the issues of rising prices, the highest unemployment rate in 45 years, economic disparities, social polarization and injustice against farmers will be raised by opposition leaders at the rally.

    He said another key issue that would be raised is the targeting of the opposition through the “misuse of central agencies”.

    Two Chief Ministers and several Ministers have been arrested in a bid to target opposition parties politically, Mr. Ramesh alleged. 

    Read the whole story
  • March 31, 2024 07:55
    Posters sporting slogan “Main bhi Kejiriwal” seen at Ramlila Maidan

    Posters sporting the slogan “ Main bhi Kejiriwal (I am also Kejriwal)” were seen at Ramlila Maidan, as part of a campaign being run by the Aam Aadmi Party since the arrest of its national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. 

    Canopies were being straightened out, and loudspeakers mounted on pillars as last-minute preparations for the mega Opposition rally were under way. 

    While AAP has been conducting a door-to-door drive to encourage people to attend the rally, the Congress has booked buses to bring people from various parts of the city to the venue.

    A large stage has been set up to accommodate leaders from nearly 20 Opposition parties, near which the organisers have placed close to 10,000 chairs.

    Read the whole story here.
  • March 31, 2024 07:53
    Top leaders expected at INDIA bloc rally on Sunday in show of strength

    Top INDIA bloc leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, Bhagwant Mann, Akhilesh Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav will participate in a rally at the Ramlila ground on Sunday in what is seen as a show of strength and Opposition unity in the backdrop of arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal just before Lok Sabha polls. 

    The “Loktantra Bachao” rally -- or ‘save democracy’ rally -- will also be attended by National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah, party vice president Omar Abdullah said. An Aam Aadmi Party leader said Delhi chief minister’s wife Sunita Kejriwal is also likely to be in attendance. Senior AAP leader Gopal Rai, who visited the Ramlila Maidan to inspect the preparations, claimed that Congress leader Sonia Gandhi will also attend the rally. 

    PTI

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