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INDIA bloc to hold ‘maha rally’ in Delhi on March 31 to ‘safeguard democracy’, says AAP’s Gopal Rai

NEW DELHI: The opposition INDIA bloc will hold a ”maha rally” at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on March 31 to safeguard the country’s interests and democracy, AAP leader Gopal Rai said on Sunday. The announcement comes after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (55) was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday from his official residence in connection with an excise policy-linked money-laundering case. A court on Friday sent the AAP national convenor to the central agency’s custody till March 28.

Addressing a press conference, INDIA bloc allies AAP and Congress announced the rally. ”We will hold a ‘maha rally’ at Ramlila Maidan on March 31 against what is happening in the country. The top leadership of the INDIA bloc will participate in the event,” Rai, the AAP’s Delhi convenor, Rai said.

”Democracy and the country are in danger. All INDIA bloc parties will take part in this ‘maha rally’ to safeguard the country’s interests and democracy,” he added.

Rai claimed that Kejriwal’s arrest has angered people who respect the Constitution. ”It is not only about Arvind Kejriwal. The entire opposition is being threatened. Either they use money to buy people or scare them by using the ED and the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). If someone refuses to bow, they get them arrested under false cases,” Rai alleged.

The Delhi minister cited the arrest of former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren and alleged that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav are also being targeted.

Soren’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress and the RJD are all members of the opposition INDIA bloc. ”All INDIA bloc leaders are being framed in false cases. They turned Delhi into a fortress. Elected MLAs, ministers were detained when they were protesting. Kejriwal’s family was placed under house arrest. They sealed our party office. Yesterday (Saturday), at Shaheedi Park, they behaved with us as if we were criminals,” Rai further charged.

He further said the BJP is claiming that opposition leaders are being arrested because they are involved in corruption but no money trail has been found in the excise policy case, the investigation into which has been going on for two years.

”However, a Rs 60-crore money trail has been found. They arrested Sarath Reddy in the excise policy case but he was released on the condition that he give a statement against Kejriwal and donate Rs 60 crore to the BJP through electoral bonds. The bank accounts of the oldest party of the country were sealed so that they could not even campaign for the Lok Sabha elections,” Rai said.

The AAP leader said the entire opposition is coming together to save the country.

Reddy of Aurobindo Pharma was arrested by the central agency last November in connection with the excise policy case.

No comments were available from Reddy or his company over the charges. There was no immediate reaction to the allegations from the BJP either.

Arvinder Singh Lovely, the Congress’ Delhi unit chief, alleged that the opposition parties are not being given a level playing field and highlighted the freezing of his party’s accounts and the arrest of a chief minister.

”The March 31 ‘maha rally’ will not only be a political one but a call to save the country’s democracy and raise voices against the BJP-led Centre,” he said. ”Democracy is in danger. Our leader Rahul Gandhi is fighting to save democracy. We are standing with our INDIA bloc allies with full strength,” he added.

Rai was later asked if they would get permission to hold the rally.

”We will apply for permission and are hopeful of getting it. If we do not get the permission, we will see what needs to be done,” he said.


Source: Press Trust of India

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