21 Opposition parties invited to Bharat Jodo Yatra’s finale

The AAP which most recently defeated the Congress in the Punjab Assembly elections, does not figure in the list, but sources did not rule out an invitation to them

January 11, 2023 06:35 pm | Updated 11:32 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi walks with supporters during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Fatehgarh Sahib on January 11, 2023.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi walks with supporters during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Fatehgarh Sahib on January 11, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge extended an invitation to 21 Opposition parties to join the concluding function of the Bharat Jodo yatra which after covering a distance of more than 3,500 km, is scheduled to end on January 30 at Srinagar. The list of invitees includes the Trinamool Congress Party that has consistently questioned the Congress’ place as the lead Opposition party.

The Aam Aadmi Party which most recently defeated the Congress in the Punjab Assembly elections, does not figure in the list, but sources did not rule out an invitation to them altogether. All the Congress allies — the DMK, the RJD, the JMM and the NCP are part of the list, as are the erstwhile ally of the BJP-Janata Dal (United). In Uttar Pradesh, both the SP and the BSP have been invited, though, both the parties had declined an earlier invitation to join the U.P. leg of the yatra.

Mr. Kharge said that writing to party presidents of the 21 parties had emerged as a “powerful voice” at a time of crisis in the country when public attention was systematically diverted from people’s issues. The yatra, he said, had a simple and enduring message of harmony and equality. “Today, India faces an economic, social and political crisis. At this time, when the Opposition’s voice is being suppressed in the Parliament and the media, the yatra is connecting directly with lakhs of people,” Mr. Kharge wrote. “Direct conversation” with all sections of society is a major achievement of the yatra.

MPs from several political parties, Mr. Kharge said, had joined during the course of the yatra and he urged the political party presidents to join the concluding function that also coincided with Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary. “At this event, we will commit ourselves to fighting hatred and violence, to spread the message of truth, compassion and non-violence and to defend the Constitutional values of liberty, equality, fraternity and justice for all,” he wrote.

The yatra on Wednesday entered Punjab and has covered 3,300 kms so far, traversing through 10 States.

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