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  India   Politics  31 Mar 2024  Bid to lure voters, super Sunday sees huge rallies

Bid to lure voters, super Sunday sees huge rallies

Published : Mar 31, 2024, 1:25 am IST
Updated : Mar 31, 2024, 1:25 am IST

A politically charged Sunday is on the cards, with PM Modi launching an election campaign in Western Uttar Pradesh with a rally in Meerut

BJP supporters wear masks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi . (PTI)
 BJP supporters wear masks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi . (PTI)

New Delhi: A politically charged Sunday is on the cards, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching an election campaign in Western Uttar Pradesh with a rally in Meerut. The BJP has fielded actor Arun Govil, renowned for his portrayal of Lord Ram in the TV serial 'Ramayan', as its candidate.

Meanwhile, the Opposition I.N.D.I.A. Bloc is gearing up for a major showdown at the Ramlila ground, where it plans to hold a rally protesting against the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren by the Enforcement Directorate. Alongside Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and former President Rahul Gandhi, top leaders of 11 other Opposition parties have confirmed their attendance at the event.

The Congress said the rally is to safeguard the Constitution and democracy. The Opposition party stressed that a "strong message" will be sent out from the rally on Sunday to Lok Kalyan Marg (the prime minister's residence), signalling that the BJP-led government's "time is up."

Addressing a press meet on the rally, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh stated that party chief Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi, among other senior leaders, will address the gathering. "This is not a rally centered around any particular individual; hence it is named the Loktantra Bachao Rally. It involves about 27-28 parties affiliated with the I.N.D.I.A. Jan Bandhan. All constituents of the I.N.D.I.A. Jan Bandhan will participate," Ramesh said. He highlighted that one of the key issues to be raised is the alleged targeting of the Opposition through the "misuse of central agencies," citing the arrests of two chief ministers and several ministers as politically motivated actions.

Representing their respective parties, TMC Rajya Sabha leader Derek O'Brien, Jharkhand Chief Minister Champai Soren, NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav have confirmed their attendance. The Left parties will also be well-represented, with the general secretaries of four left-wing parties — CPM, CPI, CPI(ML), and Forward Bloc — participating. The DMK will be represented by the party's Rajya Sabha leader Tiruchi Siva. Earlier in the day, Hemant Soren's wife met with Sunita Kejriwal, the wife of the arrested Delhi Chief Minister.

While the administration has permitted 20,000 attendees for the rally, the police expect the turnout to exceed 30,000. AAP sources suggest that the gathering may reach up to one lakh, which is the full capacity of Ramlila Maidan.

Meanwhiel, it has been learned that apart from Govil, Rashtriya Lok Dal president Jayant Chaudhary, who recently joined the BJP-led NDA, will share the stage with the Prime Minister.

A BJP leader pointed out the rally marks the beginning of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, and party workers feel privileged to have the Prime Minister launch the campaign from Meerut.

Uttar Pradesh BJP general secretary Anoop Gupta has been tasked with coordinating the Prime Minister's rally. Apart from Meerut, attendees from nearby constituencies such as Baghpat, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, and Kairana will also join the rally on Sunday.

The local administration has enhanced security measures ahead of the Prime Minister's rally on Sunday. Flying drones, kites, or balloons within an eight-kilometer radius from the rally venue has been prohibited under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Polling in Uttar Pradesh will be conducted across all seven phases of the Lok Sabha elections. Voting in Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, and Kairana Lok Sabha constituencies will take place in the first phase on April 19, while Meerut and Baghpat will see polling in the second phase on April 26.

Tags: prime minister narendra modi, india alliance
Location: India, Delhi