With ‘Vandemataram’ slogan rending the air and amidst patriotic euphoria, a group of Congress party cadres, including women, wearing Gandhi cap and carrying party flags commenced their 242-km long journey to Vedaranyam from here on Tuesday morning.

The Congress cadres are on a mission of re-enactment of the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha March on its 80th anniversary this year.

It was on this day exactly eight decades ago, C. Rajaji led a group of 100 Congress workers to Vedaranyam to protest the salt tax levied by the British.

K. V. Thangkabalu, president of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) who flagged off the march from here declared that the re-enactment will further build nationalistic fervour among the people and strengthen the party unit to usher in Kamaraj regime in the State.

The Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha March was an off-shoot of the Dandi Salt Satyagraha March led by Mahatma Gandhi himself. The Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha not only led to building further momentum to the freedom movement in South India, but also created panicky situation among the British rulers during the height of the independence struggle.

Mr. Thangkabalu, E.V.K.S. Elangovan, former Union Minister, D. Sudarsanam, Congress Legislature Party leader, M. Rajasekaran and Palanisamy, both MLAs, L. Adaikalaraj, ex-MP, S. Sujatha, Mayor, Sarubala R. Tondaiman, and other leaders led the march, which commenced from the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha Memorial at the entrance of Dr. T. S. S. Rajan bungalow.

Speaking at a brief function at the Memorial, Mr. Thangkabalu said that Congress cadres forged relentless battle against the British without any expectations. The benefits of the selfless sacrifices made by the Congress workers are enjoyed by the countrymen at present. The re-enactment of the march was to mobilise the people’s support for the party to bring back Congress rule in the state.

The policies pursued by Gandhiji were guiding the party even now to victory in all its initiatives, he added.

Mr. Elangovan referred to the recent successful holding of Youth Congress office-bearers’ election and said all other political outfits are taken aback by the professional and peaceful way in which the elections were conducted. Similar elections in other parties led to malpractices and violence. The overwhelming response of the youths to the party has given renewed hopes and augured well for the party in the state. He said similar free and fair elections should be conducted for the parent body too in the state.

Mr. Sudarsanam also spoke.

The participants of the march will camp at Srirangam, Tiruvalarsolai, Kallanai, Tirukkattupalli, Tiruvaiyaru, Ammanpettai, Thanjavur, Ayyampettai, Papanasam, Kumbakonam, Valangaiman, Needamangalam, Mannargudi, Kottur, Tiruthuraipoondi, Thagattur, Ayakkaranpuram, before reaching Vedaranyam on April 28. The Congressmen will observe a day long fast in Vedaranyam on April 29 and will re-enact salt satyagraha on Vedaranyam Agasthiampalli saltpans on April 30.