As the Congress is gearing up for Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, workers are put the finishing touches to the dais coming up on the shores of Kanniyakumari, with the confluence of the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the Bay of Bengal in the backdrop, making it a Hollywood-like setting.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi who will be leading the party’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ arrived in Chennai on Tuesday night.
Mr. Gandhi will visit his late father Rajiv Gandhi’s memorial at Sriperumbudur on Wednesday morning, pay tributes and also meet family members of those who lost their lives in the assassination of his father. Following this, he will leave for Chennai and reach Kanniyakumari in the afternoon where Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin will hand over the Indian National flag to Mr. Rahul to kickstart the yatra.
Congress leaders and workers have been arriving from across the country in batches at the tourist and pilgrimage centre on the southern tip of the country. Mr. Gandhi will start his yatra on September 8, but as a prelude, he would address a public rally, along with DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, from this dais on September 7.
“The objective of the yatra is to protect the basic tenets of the Constitution that the BJP seeks to destroy. That is why, we will read the preamble of the Constitution in the Gandhi Mandapam at Kanniyakumari. We should keep in mind that Mahatma Gandhi was a believer and had a better understanding of the Hindu religion,” Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.S. Alagiri said, asked whether the yatra would achieve its purpose.
Congress MP A. Chellakumar said the party was organising the rally not just to gain political mileage. “We have the duty to ensure unity among people when the BJP is dividing them on religious lines,” he said.
Before addressing the rally, Mr. Stalin and Mr. Rahul will visit the 133-foot Thiruvalluvar statue and the Vivekananada Memorial. “Subsequently, they will come to Gandhi Mandapam. The Chief Minister will hand over to Mr. Rahul a national flag that will be carried throughout the yatra,” said senior party leader D. Selvam.
Mr. Rahul, who will begin his yatra on September 8, will walk 20 km-25 km daily and interact with women, fishermen, farmers, Dalits and people from all walks of life. In 150 days, he will cover 3,500 km in 12 States and two Union Territories.
Throughout the yatra, he and 100 volunteers, who will walk with him, will stay in containers designed for the purpose. A total of 58 containers have arrived here. “A container can accommodate up to 12 beds. Two containers are reserved for Mr. Rahul and the rest are for volunteers. They have laundries, toilets and other facilities,” Mr. Selvam said.
During the yatra, the containers will travel on a different route and reach the place where the day’s events will conclude.