INDIA bloc rally not person-specific but to protect democracy, Constitution: Congress

Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and Arvinder Singh Lovely during a press conference, in New Delhi, Saturday, March 30, 2024.
Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and Arvinder Singh Lovely during a press conference, in New Delhi, Saturday, March 30, 2024.

New Delhi | The Congress on Saturday 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 said a "strong message" will be sent out from the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance's (INDIA) rally on Sunday to Lok Kalyan Marg (where the prime minister's residence is located) that the BJP-led government's "time is up".

Addressing a press conference on the rally, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said party chief Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi will address the rally, among other senior leaders.

"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," Ramesh said.

His remarks assume significance in view of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders pitching the rally as being specific to protesting against the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by the Enforcement Directorate.

Asked if Sonia Gandhi would attend the rally, Ramesh said the Congress president and Rahul Gandhi will definitely attend while Sonia Gandhi may participate in it.

Ramesh said the INDIA bloc sounded its Lok Sabha poll bugle in Mumbai on March 17 and the rally would be its second poll bugle.

He said it will also send out a message of solidarity and unity among the bloc.

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, Ramesh alleged.

"This shows the mindset that the prime minister wants to cripple opposition parties politically and financially," he said.

The former Union minister said the issues of "extortion" through electoral bonds and the Congress being targeted with "tax terrorism" will also be raised at the rally.

"We got two more income-tax department notices on Friday," he said, without divulging the details.

Ramesh said the most important objective of the rally is to protect the Constitution, which he claimed is in danger with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders saying they want to rewrite it.

He said, if the Constitution is changed, secularism, socialism and social justice enshrined in it, will be in danger.

"The rally is not to protect one person but to protect the Constitution," he said.

Ramesh said the likes of Jharkhand Chief Minister Champai Soren, NCP (SP) chief Shared Pawar, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D Raja, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav, DMK's Tiruchi Siva, TMC's Derek O'Brien, among others, will participate in the rally.

The rally, Ramesh said, will also focus on the "biggest scam of the last 75 years", the Electoral Bonds scheme, through which he claimed the BJP collected Rs 8200 crore.

He pointed out, these bonds were held illegal and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of India.

Speaking at the presser, AICC in-charge of Delhi Deepak Babaria said that the rally will have maximum participation and convey a message for saving the democracy and Constitution.

Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, who also addressed the press conference, said the rally will mark the beginning of the decisive and final political assault on the BJP from the people of the country.

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