After sprinting and playing cricket with young boys, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, on Thursday, continued his interaction with people on his Bharat Jodo Yatra, this time whipping himself as part of the ‘Potharajulu’ tradition, an integral part of Telangana’s acclaimed Bonalu festival.
It is a custom practised by the Budaga Jangalu, a community that visits villages and collects money while whipping themselves for a livelihood. Mr. Gandhi expressed his interest when a group from the community whipped themselves in front of him to showcase their tradition.
Sangareddy MLA T. Jayaprakash Reddy showed Mr. Gandhi how it was done, who then tried it out himself much to the amusement of the artists who gathered there. Later, he danced with Dhimsha artists as well as with MLA Seethakka and Mr. Reddy.
The Telangana leg of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra continued on Thursday receiving a huge response in Sangareddy district with local MLA Jayaprakash Reddy making arrangements with folk artists, karate groups, and school children joining and trying to display their skills to Mr. Gandhi.
When some youngsters showcased their karate skills, Mr. Gandhi, who himself is a martial arts expert, corrected a few actions. A large number of schoolchildren were seen trying to shake hands with him even as he posed for a group photograph.
Admiral Ramdas joins the Yatra
Former Indian Navy chief, Admiral (Retd) L. Ramdas joined the yatra in the morning and walked for some time, holding Mr. Gandhi’s hand. The 89-year old retired Navy Chief was full of energy.
AICC general secretary and former Union Minister, Jairam Ramesh tweeted ‘Admiral Ramdas, former Chief of Naval Staff, who at 89 continues to be an indefatigable campaigner for public causes, along with his wife Lalita Ramdas, herself the daughter of Admiral Katari, 1st Indian Chief of Naval Staff, walked with Rahul Gandhi on Day 57 of #BharatJodoYatra.’
Earlier, in the day when the yatra resumed from Patancheru on the city outskirts, senior leadership of Telangana Congress including TPCC chief, A Revanth Reddy, Lok Sabha member N Uttam Kumar Reddy, CLP leader Bhatti Vikramarka and Mr. Jayaprakash Reddy joined Mr. Gandhi.