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IndiaINDIA puts up unity show in Capital, urges people to ‘restore democracy’

INDIA puts up unity show in Capital, urges people to ‘restore democracy’


New Delhi: Ahead of the , the opposition bloc constituents on Sunday put up a massive show of unity and strength at their “Save Democracy” rally held in Delhi's Ramlila Maidan to protest the arrest of serving Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Hemant Soren. The latter was arrested hours after he quit as the Jharkhand Chief Minister.

Kejri's wife reads out his 6 guarantees

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's wife Sunita Kejriwal read out his six guarantees — 24-hour electricity, free power for poor, schools and mohalla clinics in all villages and colonies, MSP as per Swaminathan panel report and full statehood for Delhi.

BJP using force to muzzle dissent: mann

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann said democracy was in danger in the country. “They have arrested Arvind Kejriwal, but how will they arrest his ideology? Let's come together against those who are using force to muzzle dissent,” he said.

Addressing the rally, successive speakers slammed the BJP for the arrest of the two opposition leaders and appealed to people to “vote out” the Narendra Modi government and “restore democracy in the country”. As many as 18 parties attended the rally.

Kejriwal's wife Sunita and Soren's wife Kalpana attended the rally where the entire Congress top brass, including party president Mallikarjun Kharge, former presidents Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi were present. Sonia Gandhi did not take the podium though and let Rahul and Priyanka speak.

NCP (Sharad Pawar) leader Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D Raja, CPI(ML) Liberation general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and Jharkhand Chief Minister Champai Soren were among the first to reach the venue. Punjab Chief Minister and AAP leader Bhagwant Mann, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav and Conference chief Farooq Abdullah too attended the rally.

The DMK was represented by senior MP Tiruchi Siva and Trinamool Congress (TMC) by the party's leader in Rajya Sabha, Derek O'Brien.

Rahul alleged that the BJP was resorting to “match-fixing by choosing umpires ahead of the parliamentary elections”. He said arresting Soren and Kejriwal was part of the match-fixing as it meant taking two “key players” away from the Opposition team before the elections.

Red-flagging repeated Income Tax penalty notices to the grand old party, Rahul said all bank accounts of the Congress, which was the largest opposition party in the country, had been frozen in the middle of elections. “We have to run a campaign, send leaders to states and put up posters, but all our bank accounts have been closed. What kind of election is this,” he asked.

Rahul accused the BJP of planning to change the Constitution and said the day the saffron party accomplished its objective, “the country would be finished”.

Congress president Kharge attacked the government saying it was time to decide whether “one wanted democracy or dictatorship”. Kharge described the RSS-BJP combine as a “poison” that had “destroyed” the country and urged the opposition to “unite against them”.

Kejriwal's wife Sunita, in her first public remarks, read out her husband's message for the people as also his six guarantees, adding, “tyranny won't work and the Delhi Chief Minister could not be kept behind bars for long”.

Reading out Kejriwal's message from the Enforcement Directorate custody, Sunita asked the gathering, “The BJP is demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Kejriwal. Should he resign? Is his arrest justified? He is a ‘sher' (lion). They won't be able to keep him behind bars for long. This tyranny will not work. My husband is getting lots of blessings.”

Sunita also read out Kejriwal's apology to other INDIA bloc leaders for announcing her husband's six guarantees without seeking the consent of other alliance partners. “Hope you will not mind,” she said to opposition big guns on Kejriwal's behalf after sharing his guarantees.

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh, taking the stage, said the fear of losing the Lok Sabha polls had prompted PM Modi to have Kejriwal and Soren arrested before the polls. “If you are going to win more than 400 seats, then why are you scared of AAP? You have sent elected CMs to jail… the whole is criticising you. If the BJP has to use the ED, CBI and the I-T to stay in power, then they are not going to win 400 seats, but will lose 400,” said Akhilesh.

Uddhav attacked the BJP over the electoral bonds issue, terming it “Bhrasht Janata Party” and said that its real face had been exposed before the people.

Tejashwi cited the “spread of hatred in the country” saying that under the Modi regime, “a brother is being made to fight a brother”. He claimed “Modi came to power with a bang, and that he would be ousted with a massive mandate against him”.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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