Bharat Jodo Yatra successful because India about brotherhood and unity: Rahul in Punjab

Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday had offered prayers at the Golden Temple in Amritsar after concluding the Haryana-leg of the march in Ambala district.

Updated - January 11, 2023 09:13 pm IST

Published - January 11, 2023 09:09 pm IST - FATEHGARH

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with a party supporter during party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, at Sirhind, in Fatehgarh on Wednesday

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with a party supporter during party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, at Sirhind, in Fatehgarh on Wednesday | Photo Credit: ANI

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused the BJP of spreading hatred in the country, even as he asserted that India stood for "brotherhood and unity" and that is why his 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' was "successful". Mr. Gandhi paid obeisance at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib before the start of the Punjab-leg of the yatra. He sported a red turban and wore a half-sleeved T-shirt to the place of worship. The gurdwara is dedicated to the martyrdom of the two younger sons of tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh, who were bricked alive. Mr. Gandhi later also visited Rauza Sharif dargah.

Addressing a gathering at Sirhind here, the former Congress chief said, "An atmosphere of hatred and violence has been spread in the country. The BJP and the RSS people are dividing the country, pitting one religion against the other, one caste against the other, one language against the other... And they have spoiled the atmosphere of the country."            

"We thought the country needs to show another path which is of love, unity and brotherhood, this is why we started this yatra," he said.

Calling the media his "friend", Mr. Gandhi rued that the fourth estate was showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's face round-the-clock and not raising issues like unemployment or inflation.

He also said that his yatra has been receiving an overwhelming public response as it moves from one state to another.            "There is a reason for this... Hatred, fear and violence being spread by the BJP is not the country's way and not its history. This country is of brotherhood, unity and respect. And this is why this yatra is successful," he underlined.

During the yatra, Mr. Gandhi said he learnt a lot as he spoke to farmers, small shopkeepers, labourers, unemployed youths, women and others. "We walk nearly 25 km each day. The spirit of this yatra is to listen to what people have to say, listen to their concerns," said Mr. Gandhi as the yatra entered 117th day on Wednesday.

He said the biggest issues in the country are hatred, violence, unemployment and inflation, adding that the yatra is trying to raise these issues and fight against them. "You gave us your strength and we will interact with you over the next 10 days in the state," he told the gathering in the northern state.

Mr. Gandhi on Tuesday had offered prayers at the Golden Temple in Amritsar after concluding the Haryana-leg of the march in Ambala district.

The Wayanad MP came to Sirhind in Fatehgarh Sahib on Tuesday evening and stayed for a night.

Braving the harsh winters, a number of party workers had gathered here for the yatra. The march began Wednesday morning from the new Dana Mandi of Sirhind and passed through Mandi Gobindgarh and Khanna. It will make a night halt at Barmalipur playground near Ludhiana. During the yatra, Mr. Gandhi also went to a sweet shop in Khanna where his huge cut-out was also put up.

Former Aam Aadmi Party MP Dharamvira Gandhi joined the yatra. Later, Mr. Gandhi also interacted with senior ex-servicemen and a panel of Punjabi historians and economists, including noted economist S S Johl. 

Meanwhile, addressing the media here, Congress general secretary, communications, Jairam Ramesh said demonetisation and wrong GST had hit the small and medium enterprises and blamed the demonetisation as one of the reasons of the unemployment in the country.

Replying to a question, Mr. Ramesh said the BJP is feeling jittery because of the yatra.

“(RSS chief) Mohan Bhagwat ji met Muslim intellectuals and (Union minister) Nitin Gadkari also spoke about unemployment, poverty and economic disparities. Baba Ramdev praised Rahul Gandhi. (BJP chief) J P Nadda went to a dargah. All these are the impacts of the yatra,” said Mr. Ramesh.

"After ex-servicemen raised the issue of 'One Rank One Pension' during the Haryana leg of the yatra, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that arrears of OROP will be cleared. It is the impact of the yatra,” he said.

“Bharat Jodo Yatra is a transformative moment for politics. It is 'Sanjeevni' for the Congress party and it is reflected in the organization. But in politics, I feel that it is a transformative moment,” he said.

Mr. Ramesh alleged that the BJP has only one strategy for winning the elections and that is polarisation.

“BJP wants uniformity while the Congress wants unity. This is the difference,” he asserted.

Replying to a question how the Opposition will take on the BJP in the 2024 polls, Mr. Ramesh said Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge has written to the opposition parties, inviting them to come to Srinagar on January 30.

A meeting will be held of like-minded parties in Srinagar, he said.

Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said that the yatra is not for the Congress party, but for the country. The yatra is being undertaken to save the Constitution of the country and give the message of brotherhood, he said, urging people to participate in the march in a big way.

Meanwhile, during his foot march, a number of common people met Mr. Gandhi. An elderly woman was seen warmly hugging him and giving blessings. Mr. Gandhi was seen walking with a boy who was dressed up like former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with a red rose pinned on his coat.

Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda expressed hope that the foot march will get massive support in Punjab.   

Besides Warring, Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa, former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Congress MP Manish Tewari, among others, accompanied Gandhi in the yatra.

The Yatra, which started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7, will conclude in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir on January 30, with Mr. Gandhi hoisting the national flag.

The march has so far covered Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

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