Kejriwal’s Arrest Binding Factor as Congress, AAP, INDIA Allies Stand Together for Ramlila Protest

Kejriwal's Arrest Binding Factor as Congress, AAP, INDIA Allies Stand Together for Ramlila Protest

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s wife Sunita Kejriwal and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi (R) during INDIA bloc’s ‘Loktantra Bachao Rally’ at Ramlila Maidan, in New Delhi on March 31. (Image: PTI)

The focus of the protest at Ramlila Maidan was Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, but the irony cannot be missed as it took place on the day of his predecessor, the late Sheila Dikshit’s birth anniversary

The Congress, which was earlier considered a bitter rival by the AAP, joined hands with its INDIA ally for a protest at Ramlila Maidan on Sunday along with other opposition parties. The focus here was the arrest of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, but the irony cannot be missed as it took place on the day of his predecessor, the late Sheila Dikshit’s birth anniversary.

Kejriwal, who won his first election against Sheila Dikshit, is behind bars on corruption charges in the alleged Delhi excise policy scam. But, his wife Sunita Kejriwal released a statement on his behalf at the protest held against the “death of democracy” saying, “Aapka Kejriwal sher hai (Your Kejriwal is a lion).”

The absence of some in the Congress, however, exposed the discomfort within the party over the alliance with the AAP in Delhi for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Not everyone in the grand old party is happy with this alliance in the national capital while there is no such tie-up in Punjab, which is also ruled by the AAP. In Delhi, meanwhile, the seat-sharing between the two parties has been finalised.

On the night of Kejriwal’s arrest, the decision by the Congress to march to the chief minister’s house did not go down well with all in the Delhi unit. While Delhi Congress president Arvinder Singh Lovely and Sandeep Dikshit went to the CM’s residence, senior party leader Ajay Maken stayed away.

Maken, who had a controversial relationship with Sheila, has not been in favour of an alliance with the AAP. Unavailable for a comment as of now, he also stayed away from the Ramlila rally along with some others who have not warmed up to the idea of the protest in the first place. But, the Congress realised this difference of opinion and tried to placate them.

“The rally is not centered around one person. It’s on the larger issue of democracy being attacked, so the slogan is the misuse of CBI, ED, hacked EVMs, I-T demands,” Congress general secretary incharge of communications, Jairam Ramesh said in a press conference before the rally.

The contradictions despite the show of strength are apparent. Many on stage have seat-sharing issues, especially with the Congress. For example, the RJD and TMC were here for the sake of this arrest. While the TMC and Congress have bigger issues even as allies, Kejriwal was the binding factor for them to be on the same stage.

The challenge now is to ensure that the platform does not go into disarray with only a few weeks left to go for the polls. With the BJP gunning for a ‘400 paar’ victory, the shadow of a seemingly divided Congress looms large.

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