This election not about forming a govt but saving the democracy: Rahul Gandhi at INDIA rally

Drawing an analogy with IPL cricket tournament, the Congress leader said that Modi wants to win the match (Lok Sabha) by appointing his own umpires, threatening rival captains and bribing the players

Rahul Gandhi addresses the mega opposition rally at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan, 31 March 2024 (Photo: Vipin/ NH)
Rahul Gandhi addresses the mega opposition rally at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan, 31 March 2024 (Photo: Vipin/ NH)

NH Political Bureau

In a major show of strength ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the I.N.D.I.A. block parties held a mega rally in Delhi’s Ramlila ground on Sunday, demanding free and fair elections in the country and the immediate release of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren from jail.

The opposition leaders protested against the misuse of investigating agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Income Tax Department and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by the ruling BJP.

They accused the Modi government of indulging in ‘match-fixing’ before the polls.

Addressing the gathering alongside other top leaders of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi drew an analogy with the ongoing IPL cricket matches.

He said, "The IPL is on these days. When umpires are pressurised, rival players are bribed and captains are threatened in order to win matches, it is called match-fixing in cricket. We have Lok Sabha polls before us; umpires were chosen by PM Modi," Rahul Gandhi said.

Referring to the arrests of Kejriwal and former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, the Congress leader said, “Two players from our team have been arrested before the match.”

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED in the now-scrapped excise policy case on 21 March. He is in custody until April 1st.

"This election—in which Narendra Modi chose the umpires—this 400-seat slogan of his is not possible without fixing EVMs, pressuring the media and social media," Rahul Gandhi added.

Urging people to cast their votes in the upcoming polls, he said, “If you do not vote with full force, their match-fixing will succeed; if that succeeds, the Constitution will be destroyed.”

Gandhi further asserted that all of Congress' bank accounts were abruptly frozen by the Income Tax Department, and the party can't fund the election.

"We have to run campaigns, send workers to states, put up posters but all our bank accounts have been closed. What kind of election is this?" he added.

Addressing the rally, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge noted that the ‘Save Democracy Mega Rally’ shows unity in diversity.

"The investigating agencies of the country are being misused. Politicians and political parties are being intimidated by using investigative agencies. BJP formed governments by intimidating leaders and buying MLAs and MPs. We have to fight to save democracy and the Constitution. You will get your rights only if there is a constitution," said Kharge.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi read out 5 point demands put forth by the  of INDIA alliance during the rally :

1. The Election Commission of India should ensure level playing field in the Lok Sabha polls

2. The EC should stop forceful action of Income Tax, CBI and ED against opposition done with the intention of manipulating the elections

3. Hemant Soren and Arvind Kejriwal be released with immediate effect

4. Attempts to strangle the opposition parties financially must stop

5. A Supreme Court-monitored SIT should be formed to probe the BJP's extortion of funds through electoral bonds, and the charges of money laundering levelled by the BJP against parties and opposition leaders

Addressing the rally, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said, "If you (BJP) are going to win more than 400 seats, then why are you scared of the AAP leader... You have sent elected CMs to jail, not just the Indians but the whole world is criticising it."

The BJP claims to be the biggest political party in the world, but it is the biggest liar party in the universe. If they have to use ED, CBI and IT to stay in power, they are not going to win 400 seats. The BJP has raised the highest amount of funds using ED and CBI".

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