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INDIA bloc leaders assemble at Ramlila Maidan in solidarity with Kejriwal, Soren

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New Delhi, Mar 31 (PTI) Top INDIA bloc leaders gathered at the Ramlila Maidan here on Sunday to express solidarity with arrested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, and urged people to vote out the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls to "save democracy and the Constitution".

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The leaders who were on the stage at the 'Loktantra Bachao' (save democracy) rally included Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, former presidents Sonia and Rahul Gandhi; NCP's Sharad Yadav, NC leader Farooq Abdullah, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray; Left leaders Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Dipankar Bhattacharya; Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav; RJD's Tejashwi Yadav and TMC's Derek O'Brien.

Chief Minister Kejriwal's wife Sunita Kejriwal and JMM leader Hemant Soren's wife Kalpana Soren were also addressed the gathering, castigating the Central government over the arrest of their husbands in corruption cases.

Sunita Kejriwal read out a letter from her husband which she said he sent from the Enforcement Directorate's custody.

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Thackeray alleged the country has become an "autocracy" under the Modi government, and appealed to the people to throw the BJP out of power.

"We are not here for an election campaign, we are here to save democracy... what kind of government is this, you make allegations and send people to jail," he said.

"Two of our sisters are fighting, how can the brother stay behind? So we are here for our sisters, Kalpana ji and Sunita ji. Not just we, the whole country is with you," he said.

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Thackeray accused the BJP of misusing the ED, CBI and Income Tax Department, and said they should declare that these three agencies are their allies.

AAP Delhi state convener Gopal Rai said the Ramlila Maidan is a historic place which has changed the country's history several times. "Whenever a crisis has arisen in the country, a voice of change has echoed from here."  "If they (BJP) win the Lok Sabha elections, the country will face consequences. This is a do or die situation for all of us. Take leave from your work for the next two months and put all your efforts to save our democracy," he said at the rally.  Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely said the Lok Sabha elections will decide the future of coming generations and what kind of a democracy they live in.

"You arrest a sitting chief minister. You freeze the accounts of the biggest opposition party. What democracy is this? Shaheed Bhagat Singh did not sacrifice his life for this kind of democracy. The 2024 election is neither about AAP, Congress or INDIA bloc or those who discuss elections in their drawing rooms. This election will decide the future of our coming generations and what kind of a democracy they live in the future," he said.  Kalpana Soren said she was present at the rally as the voice of "50 per cent of the population of the country -- the women -- and the nine percent tribal population.  "We, the tribals, have a long story of struggle and sacrifices. We are proud of our history.  The crowd is an evidence that the way autocratic forces are trying to attack democracy, this assembly has gathered against it," she said.  All the guarantees provided by Babasaheb's Constitution are being destroyed by the NDA government, she charged. "One by one they have demolished constitutional institutions." She appealed to people to use their votes "wisely".

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As Sunita Kejriwal read out the letter sent by Arvind Kejriwal, people in the gathering listened to her with attention. "See her voice is shaking, while reading her husband's letter. She is a true Bharatiya woman," said Anit Devi, who was one maong the crowd.

An Aam Aadmi Party worker said it was very emotional moment for "all of us when Arvind's wife was reading the letter".

Every single person listened to all the six promises that Kejriwal wrote about in the letter very carefully and accepted them, said the party worker.

Another party worker, Ram Kishan, said Kejriwal is in jail, but he is still only thinking about the people of the country. "Every single of them." PTI AO/SJJ/SLB/BM TIR TIR TIR

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