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Business News/ Politics / News/  INDIA bloc's ‘Loktantra Bachao’ Maharally and Arvind Kejriwal's tryst with Ramlila Maidan

INDIA bloc's ‘Loktantra Bachao’ Maharally and Arvind Kejriwal's tryst with Ramlila Maidan

Sunday’s rally at the historic Ramlila Maidan, attended by leaders from most of the opposition parties in INDIA bloc, comes at a time when Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party is, perhaps, faced with one of its toughest challenges since its inception in 2013.

INDIA bloc's ‘Loktantra Bachao’ Maharally and Arvind Kejriwal's tryst with Ramlila Maidan in 5 points (AP)Premium
INDIA bloc's ‘Loktantra Bachao’ Maharally and Arvind Kejriwal's tryst with Ramlila Maidan in 5 points (AP)

Way back in August, 2011, Arvind Kejriwal and social activist Anna Hazare were at the centre of the 12-day anti-corruption fast at the historic Ramlila Maidan in the national capital. 

The protest forced the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre to promise  an anti-corruption watchdog - Lok Pal.

Tryst with Ramlila Maidan

Arvind Kejriwal's rise as a political leader in last two decades has a strong connection with Ramlila Maidan.  

Over two years after the Anna Hazare-led fast, Kejriwal took oath for the first time as Chief Minister of Delhi, with the support of the Congress party, at the same Ramlila Maidan on December 28, 2013. 

Kejriwal was sworn in as the Chief Minister again in 2015 and 2020 at the same venue. In June last year, Kejriwal addressed a mega rally at the venue to protest the Centre's Ordinance curtailing his government's control over administrative services in Delhi.

Follow INDIA Bloc Maharally LIVE Updates Here

On March 31, key opposition leaders of the INDIA bloc came together at the same venue -Ramlila Maidan- in solidarity with Arvind Kejriwal.

The Delhi Chief Minister was arrested on March 21 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the alleged Liqour Scam days ahead of Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

AAP's toughest challenge

The 2011 event at Ramlila Maidan was followed by three successive victory speeches by the Delhi Chief Minister. 

But Sunday’s rally, attended by leaders representing leaders from most of the parties in INDIA bloc, comes at a time when Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is faced with one of the toughest challenge since its inception in 2013. 

While Kejriwal is running the government in the custody of Enforcement Directorate, his former deputy CM Manish Sisodia, cabinet colleague Satyendra Jain and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh are also in jail. 

Kailash Gahlot, another minister in Kejriwal cabinet was also questioned by ED on March 30 in connection with the now-scrapped liquor policy case.

‘Save Democracy’

Titled the ‘Loktantra Bachao’ or 'Save Democracy' Maharally, the March 31 event witnessed participation of prominent opposition leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, Mehbooba Mufti, Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray, Derek O’Brien, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, among others.

Also Read : From an anti-graft crusader to a CM behind bars: The political journey of Arvind Kejriwal in 5 points

Kejriwal’s arrest on March 21 triggered a unanimous condemnation from the opposition leaders, most of them accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) of vindictive misuse of central agencies. 

After his arrest, Kejriwal joined the league of opposition leaders arrested by central agencies in the recent past.

2nd INDIA bloc CM in Jail

Kejriwal is the second opposition chief minister to be arrested by the ED in the last two months. Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren was arrested by the agency on January 31 in a different case.

Sunita Kejriwal, Arvind Kejriwal's wife and  Kalpana Soren, Hemant Soren's wife, also addressed the Sunday's rally. 

On March 15, K Kavitha, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader and daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, was also arrested by the ED over her alleged money laundering role in the same case.  

Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party is contesting elections as part of the INDIA bloc, an amalgamation of opposition parties, putting up a united fight against the BJP in the upcoming general elections.

Also Read : ‘Eye opening’: PM Modi lashes out at Congress for giving away Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka

The seven-phase Lok Sabha Election 2024 will begin on April 19. The rests will be announced on June 4. 

Rich Political History

Ramlila Maidan was originally meant for Dussehra celebrations in 19th century. But over the last few decades, the ground near Ajmeri Gate has hosted historic political events attended by national and international celebrities.

In 1955, Nikita Khrushchev, first Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, visited the venue. Four years later, the then US President Dwight Eisenhower addressed the crowd at the ground, too. In 1961, Queen Elizabeth II also addressed a gathering at Ramlila Maidan in presence of the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru

On June 25, 1975 Jayaprakash Narayan or JP addressed a rally at this historic venue to protest the alleged autocratic rule of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

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Published: 31 Mar 2024, 01:00 PM IST
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