Before visiting Chamundeshwari Temple atop Chamundi Hills, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi stopped by the Masjid-E-Azam on Ashoka Road and the nearby St. Philomena’s Church in the city as the Bharat Jodo Yatra he is leading rolled out of Mysuru and entered the neighbouring Mandya district on Monday.
The Kanyakumari-to-Kashmir padayatra, which entered its 26 th day on Monday, began from the Hardinge circle, now renamed Jayachamarajendra Circle, before winding its way through the Old Statue circle and proceeding along the Ashoka Road with Mr. Rahul Gandhi accompanied by former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah leading a large number of party leaders and supporters.
Mr. Gandhi was welcomed into the Masjid-E-Azam on Ashoka Road, where he was felicitated with a shawl and a garland. Former Minister Tanveer Sait, who was also present, explained to Mr. Gandhi the history of the mosque, which is among the oldest in Mysuru.
He next visited the St. Philomena’s Church, situated a short distance away, and was welcomed by Bishop of Mysuru K.A. Williams and other priests.
The padayatra soon swelled with a large number of participants as it proceeded along the designated route towards Fountain Circle, where flower petals were showered and slogans were raised in favour of the Congress leaders. The march went past Tipu Circle and Old Toll Gate before exiting the city from the Manipal Hospital Circle on Ring Road Junction.
Apart from Mr. Siddaramaiah, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D.K. Shivakumar, All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretaries Randeep Singh Surjewala and K.C. Venugopal, former MP and KPCC working president R. Dhruvanarayan walked alongside Mr. Gandhi.
Later, Mr. Gandhi, accompanied by party leaders including Mr. Shivakumar, drove to Chamundeshwari Temple, where he offered special prayers. He later returned and joined the padayatra. After visiting the shrine, Mr. Gandhi tweeted that religious harmony was the foundation of India’s peaceful and progressive future.
The Congress leader, who had visited Srikanteshwara Temple in Nanjangud on Sunday, had also paid a visit to Suttur Mutt at the foot of Chamundi Hills the same day and sought the blessings of the seer Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Swami.
The padayatra, meanwhile, concluded at Pandavapura, where he addressed the gathering and thanked the participants for standing up against the “hate and violence” that has spread in India by joining the march.
It may be mentioned here that Mr. Gandhi’s address after the conclusion of the day’s padayatra a day earlier on Sunday was marred by torrential rain, but the Congress leader had chosen to continue his speech despite the downpour.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra will have a two-day break for Ayudha pooja and Vijayadashami as part of Dasara festival. When the padayatra resumes on October 6, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and party’s senior leader M. Mallikarjun Kharge, who is in the race for the post of party president, will join the march.