Congress leader Rahul Gandhi paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on his 153rd birth anniversary by visiting the Khadi Gramudyog Centre at Badanavalu village near Mysuru on Sunday.
On the 25th day of his Bharat Jodo Yatra, Mr Gandhi visited the khadi spinning and weaving centre at Badanavalu, which had also been visited by Mahatma Gandhi in 1927, before interacting with the weavers of the centre.
Earlier, he participated in a bhajan programme at Badanavalu and offered floral tributes to a bust of Mahatma Gandhi. He also planted a sapling at the Khadi Gramudyog Centre.
As part of the Shramadhan, Mr Gandhi laid the interlocking tiles of a newly laid lane connecting the settlements of Dalits and Lingayats in the village, besides applying paint to the walls of an anganwadi nearby.
The lane is symbolic of the efforts of the party to unite different sections of the society, said a Congress leader recalling the clashes between the two communities about three decades ago.
Mr Gandhi was accompanied by a host of leaders including former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, KPCC Chief D K Shivakumar, AICC General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala and others.
Meanwhile, in a statement released by Mr Rahul Gandhi on the occasion, he said "We remember and pay our respects to that great son of India. Our remembering is made more poignant by the fact that we are on the 25th day of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, a padyatra in which we are walking his path of ahimsa, unity, equality and justice".
"Just as Gandhiji fought the British Raj, we are today embarked on a battle with the very ideology that killed Gandhi. This ideology has delivered inequality, divisiveness and the erosion of our hard-won freedoms in the past eight years. Against this politics of himsa and asatya, the Bharat Jodo Yatra will spread the message of Ahimsa and Swaraj from Kanyakumari to Kashmir," he said in the statement.
He said Swaraj has many meanings. "It is the freedom from fear and want that our farmers, youth and small and medium enterprises desire. It is the freedom of our states to exercise their constitutional freedoms and of our villages to practice Panchayati Raj. It is also the conquest of the self, whether it is Bharat Yatris who are travelling 3,600 km by foot or the lakhs of citizens who are walking with us for shorter periods," his statement said.
“The Yatra is the quiet and determined voice of the Indian people against the politics of fear, hatred and division. It might be convenient for those in power to appropriate Gandhiji’s legacy, but it is much more difficult to walk in his footsteps,” the statement added.