INDIA bloc’s Maharally and Arvind Kejriwal’s tryst with Ramlila Maidan


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 took oath for the first time as Chief Minister of Delhi, with the support of the Congress party, at the 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, Arvind Kejriwal addressed a mega rally at Ramlila Maidan against the Centre’s Ordinance curtailing his government’s control over administrative services in Delhi.

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

Follow INDIA Bloc Maharally LIVE Updates Here

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 and swearing ins for 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 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’, the March 31 event witnessed participation of prominent opposition leaders such as Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray, 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

Chief Minister’s wife Sunita Kejriwal, will read out a message penned by her husband from ED custody during the rally.

‘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.

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. In 1961, Queen Elizabeth II addressed a gathering at Ramlila Maidan in presence of the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.  During Emergency too, Jayaprakash Narayan or JP also addressed a rally at this historic venue. 

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

By his arrest, Kejriwal joined the league of Opposition leaders arrested by central agencies in the recent past. Two of his former ministers – Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain – and a Rajya Sabha member from his party, Sanjay Singh, are also in jail. 

2nd INDIA bloc CM in Jail

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

In fact, 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. 

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.  

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

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Published: 31 Mar 2024, 01:00 PM IST


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