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INDIA bloc rally not person-specific but to protect democracy, Constitution: Cong

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New Delhi, Mar 30 (PTI) The Congress asserted on Saturday that the INDIA opposition bloc's "Loktantra Bachao Rally" that will be held at the Ramlila Maidan here is not aimed at protecting a person but at saving the Constitution and democracy.

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The opposition party said a "strong message" will be sent out from the rally on Sunday to Lok Kalyan Marg (where the prime minister's residence is located) that the BJP-led government's "time is up".

Addressing a press conference on the rally, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said party chief Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi will address the rally, among other senior leaders.

"It is not a person-specific rally. That is why it is called Loktantra Bachao Rally. This is not one party's rally, about 27-28 parties are involved in it. All constituents of the INDIA jan bandhan will be taking part in the rally," Ramesh said.

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His remarks assume significance in view of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders pitching the rally as being specific to protesting against the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by the Enforcement Directorate.

Ramesh said the Indian National Developmental Inclusive alliance (INDIA) sounded its Lok Sabha poll bugle in Mumbai on March 17 and the rally would be its second poll bugle.

He said it will also send out a message of solidarity and unity among the bloc.

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Ramesh said the issues of rising prices, the highest unemployment rate in 45 years, economic disparities, social polarisation and injustice against farmers will be raised by opposition leaders at the rally.

He said another key issue that would be raised is the targeting of the opposition through the "misuse of central agencies".

Two chief ministers and several ministers have been arrested in a bid to target opposition parties politically, Ramesh alleged.

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"This shows the mindset that the prime minister wants to cripple opposition parties politically and financially," he said.

The former Union minister said the issues of "extortion" through electoral bonds and the Congress being targeted with "tax terrorism" will also be raised at the rally.

"We got two more income-tax department notices on Friday," he said, without divulging the details.

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Ramesh said the most important objective of the rally is to protect the Constitution, which he claimed is in danger with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders saying they want to rewrite it.

"The rally is not to protect one person but to protect the Constitution," he said.

Ramesh said the likes of Jharkhand Chief Minister Champai Soren, NCP (SP) chief Shared Pawar, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D Raja, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav, DMK's Tiruchi Siva, TMC's Derek O'Brien, among others, will participate in the rally.

Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely and AICC in-charge of Delhi Deepak Babaria said a massive rally will be held to protest against the threats to democracy. PTI ASK RC

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