Atmosphere of ‘fear’ and ‘hatred’ prevails in India, says Rahul Gandhi in PM Modi’s Varanasi

Mr. Gandhi, forced to leave for Wayanad in Kerala, will resume the U.P. leg of Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra on February 18 from Prayagraj 

Updated - February 17, 2024 09:59 pm IST

Published - February 17, 2024 12:47 pm IST - Lucknow

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party leader Ajai Rai during the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’, in Varanasi on February 17, 2024.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party leader Ajai Rai during the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’, in Varanasi on February 17, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for creating an atmosphere of ‘fear’ and ‘hatred’ in the society, adding true patriotism is in uniting the nation.

“There is an atmosphere of fear and hatred, deliberately build in the country by the BJP, aimed at dividing the society. They [BJP] talk about patriotism, but the real patriotism is towards uniting the nation,” said Mr. Gandhi, addressing a gathering on the second day of Uttar Pradesh leg of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Varanasi, the Parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Congress leader undertook a 12-kilometre-long road show in Varanasi interacting with unemployed youth and people from other walks of life. 

Mr. Gandhi further attacked the BJP government for doing injustice with farmers, youths and underprivileged sections alleging the rulers of India are working for billionaires and rich people.

“Unemployment is the major issue in the country but they [BJP] will not talk about it, they would try to deviate you whenever the issue of unemployment is raised. We are witness of two different India today, one is for the billionaires, rich and the other for the poor,’‘ Mr. Gandhi, who is travelling from Manipur to Mumbai, covering 15 States, pushing for Economic, Social and Political justice for every India in the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra said. The Yatra entered U.P. via Chandauli on February 16 and likely to spend roughly a week in India’s politically most crucial State sending 80 Lok Sabha seats.

Top U.P. Congress leaders including the U.P. Congress chief Ajay Rai were present along with Mr. Gandhi in Varanasi, during the road show in which he also interacted with some teachers and students of the prestigious Banaras Hindu University. The roadshow passed through Golgadda, Maidagin, and Manduadih localities having sizeable minority population. 

Earlier in the day, Mr. Gandhi offered prayers at the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, which also led to controversy as the Congress accused the district administration of pettiness on the directions of political masters for cancelling the permission granted to the grand-old-party to carry camera inside the temple.

“Today in the morning Rahulji had darshan at Baba Vishwanath temple in Kashi. At the last moment, the permission granted to our camera to enter the temple was cancelled. The district administration assured that the photo would be shared by the temple cameraperson. Despite continuous efforts for three and a half hours, the photo was not provided. Then some seven photographs were sent, not a single one of which is of darshan although the photo was taken by the cameraperson of the temple. By doing this, the district administration proved it is working to satisfy their political masters,” said U.P. Congress chief Ajay Rai. 

The Congress leader who was scheduled to reach Bhadohi district from Varanasi was forced to cancel his programme and to leave for Wayanad, his own parliamentary constituency, following some urgent work. “Rahul Gandhi’s presence is required urgently in Wayanad. He is leaving this evening from Varanasi at 5 p.m. The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra will resume at 3 p.m. tomorrow, February 18, at Prayagraj,” Jairam Ramesh, General Secretary in-charge Communications, Congress explained via social media.

Following the roadshow in Varanasi, the BJP workers held protest against Mr. Gandhi, by washing the roads from where the Yatra passed with Ganga jal (Ganga water) and raised slogans against the Congress. 

Earlier, Senior Congress leader and former U.P. in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was scheduled to attend the U.P. leg of the yatra was absent in the initial two days due to a medical emergency.

“I was really looking forward to receiving the yatra in Uttar Pradesh today but unfortunately, have ended up admitted to hospital. I will be there as soon as I am better! Meanwhile wishing all the yatris, my colleagues in U.P. who have worked hard towards making arrangements for the yatra and my sweet brother, all success as they reach Chandauli today,” Ms. Vadra wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

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