‘Save Democracy’ rally by INDIA bloc turns into show of solidarity, strength against Modi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to do 'match-fixing' in the Lok Sabha polls.

BySouth First Desk

Published Mar 31, 2024 | 2:24 PMUpdatedMar 31, 2024 | 6:27 PM

INDIA bloc leaders during Save Democracy rally in New Delhi

With Sunitha Kejriwal and Kalpana Soren, spouses of incarcerated leaders of the INDIA bloc, at the forefront, the Opposition put up a show of solidarity on Sunday.

Opposition’s INDIA bloc on, 31 March, held Loktantra bachao (Save Democracy) rally at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi. Congress said the rally was aimed at “saving the Constitution and democracy and not any particular person”.

“Match-fixing,” says Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday 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.

“When pressure is put on umpires and captain, players are bought off and the match is won, in cricket, it is called match-fixing. We have Lok Sabha polls before us. Who selected the umpires? Before the match started, two players were arrested… Narendra Modi is trying to do match-fixing in these polls,” Gandhi said.

The BJP is raising the slogan of getting 400 seats, but without EVMs, match-fixing, pressure on opposition leaders and buying media, they will not be able to cross even 180 seats, he claimed.

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Accuses BJP of trying to change Constitution

Gandhi said the Congress is the biggest Opposition party and all its accounts have been frozen.

INDIA bloc leaders during Save Democracy rally in New Delhi

INDIA bloc leaders during Save Democracy rally in New Delhi

“Two chief ministers were arrested. What kind of election is this,” Gandhi alleged, adding, “Match-fixing is being done by PM Modi along with three-four billionaires. This is being done to snatch the Constitution from the poor.”

The Constitution is the voice of the people and the day it is finished, this country will be finished, he asserted, adding if the Constitution goes, the rights of the poor and reservation will also go.

“A BJP MP said ‘We will change the Constitution when we get over 400 seats’. It was not said just like that, it was to test the idea,” Gandhi said, referring to Anantkumar Hegde’s remark about amending the Constitution.

“They think the country can be run with the threats and intimidation of police, CBI and ED… You can buy media and suppress them but you cannot suppress the voice of India. No force in this world can suppress this voice of people,” the former Congress chief said.

He claimed that If the BJP wins the election through match-fixing and changes the Constitution, then the country would not be saved and “there will be fire everywhere”.

“This election is not just about votes it is to save the country and the Constitution,” Gandhi asserted.

Strangulating Opposition

CPI general secretary D Raja said that the BJP was using central agencies to strangulate the opposition.

“The architect of India’s Constitution, Dr. Ambedkar said everyone should follow the constitutional method and uphold constitutional morality. The BJP govt is using all central agencies to strangulate and intimidate opposition parties. The country is facing a big calamity,” he said.

“Our Constitution defines India as a secular and democratic republic. Our Constitution talks about equality, liberty, fraternity, and social, economic, and political justice,” he added.

“Now, the BJP-RSS are trying to replace our constitution. Can we allow this? Mr Modi will not succeed in his efforts,” Raja claimed.

Incidentally, his wife and general secretary of the CPI’s women’s wing Annie Raja is the primary opponent of Rahul Gandhi in the Wayanad constituency in Kerala.

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien said that Modi’s guarantee had zero warranty.

“Zero warranty when it comes to price rise, jobs and protecting India’s institutions. After the Pulwama tragedy, former Governor Satya Pal Malik ji publicly said that Narendra Modi ji did not even want the truth to come out,” he said.

“What did Narendra Modi want to hide? Why did Narendra Modi do cheap politics, desperately seeking votes, when our jawans sacrificed their lives? We demand the truth to come out to honour our jawans. We demand a white paper!” the MP further said.

‘Power is not permanent’

In a stinging attack on Modi, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said she would like to tell him that the message of Lord Ram’s life is that power is not permanent and arrogance gets shattered.

She said, “I have been coming to the Ramlila Maidan since childhood. Every year Ravan’s effigy is burnt.”

“When I was a kid, I used to come (here) with my grandmother Indira Gandhi Ji. She used to narrate Ram’s ‘jeevan gaatha‘ to me. Those in power today call themselves Ram bhakts. When I was sitting here, I thought that I should say something to them in this context,” the Congress general secretary said.

Priyanka Gandhi said she thinks that those in power today are besotted with showoff and she wants to remind them of the thousands of years old tale and its message.

“When Lord Ram fought for truth, he did not have power, resources or even a chariot. Ravan had chariots, resources, army and golden Lanka but Lord Ram had truth, hope, belief, love, kindness, modesty, patience, courage and he had truth.

“I want to tell those in power and PM Narendra Modi that the message of Lord Ram’s life is that power is not permanent, power comes and goes and arrogance gets shattered one day,” Priyanka Gandhi said.

‘Modi will be ousted’

Meanwhile, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Legislative Assembly Tejashwi Yadav said that the people in power have become dictators and arrogant and the public will answer them.

He further said that Modi would be ousted from power soon.

Yadav alleged that an “undeclared emergency” was prevailing in the country and asserted that the opposition will not let the RSS agenda to be implemented in the country.

The former Bihar deputy CM charged that the Enforcement Directorate, CBI and IT department are cells of the BJP.

“Cases have been slapped on me, my father, mother, sisters. We are not the ones to get scared. The manner in which Hemant Soren ji and (Arvind) Kejriwal ji have been arrested (has been seen by everyone). We are not going to be cowed down by their threat. Only lion is locked up. We are lions and we also never shy away from struggle,” Yadav said.

“When people will give a befitting reply Modi ji will be out of power..cast your vote. BJP people are liars don’t believe them,” he said.

JMM leader Kalpana Soren — wife of recently imprisoned former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren — said in the rally that the public is powerful and they needed to overthrow the dictator.

She was referring to the governance of the Narendra Modi-led Union government arresting Hemant Soren in an alleged money laundering case.

Tyranny won’t work and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal cannot be kept behind bars for long, said Sunita Kejriwal, reading out her husband’s message from Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody at the rally.

In her maiden speech at a political rally, Sunita also asked people whether Kejriwal should resign as Chief Minister.

“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,” she said.

Sunita thanked people for showering blessings on her husband.

“This tyranny will not work. My husband is getting lots of blessings,” she said.

In a show of opposition unity ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, INDIA bloc leaders came together at the Ramlila ground in the backdrop of Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal’s arrest.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, former party chiefs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) leader Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D Raja, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, and Jharkhand Chief Minister Champai Soren, among others, attended the rally.

(With PTI inputs)