Rahul in Punjab: Bharat Jodo Yatra successful because India about unity
Congress leader says BJP, RSS resorting to divisive politics to spread fear, hatred, but he is showing path of unity, which is why his yatra is successful
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused the BJP of resorting to “divisive politics” by spreading fear and hatred, while India stood for “brotherhood, unity and respect” which was why his Bharat Jodo Yatra was “successful”.
Attired in a neatly tied red turban and his trademark white half-sleeves T-shirt, Gandhi started out on the Punjab leg of his yatra on a foggy morning after paying obeisance at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib and Rouza Sharif Dargah. He had paid obeisance at Golden Temple in Amritsar on Tuesday afternoon.
Addressing at the historic town of Sirhind, the former Congress chief said, “An atmosphere of hatred and violence has been spread in the country. The BJP and the RSS are dividing the country, pitting one religion against the other, one caste against the other, one language against the other. 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 his yatra has been receiving overwhelming public response as it heads from one state to another. “The 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. This is why this yatra is successful,” he said.
“I have come here with prayers for happiness, peace, prosperity, brotherhood and love for the country. I will not leave empty-handed. In the next few days, I will send the message of love to the land of Punjab,” he said.
Walking 25km daily ‘nothing big’
During the yatra, Gandhi said he interacted with farmers, small shopkeepers, labourers, unemployed youngsters, and women among 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. Wherever I go, people tell me that you walked 3,000km! I have done nothing big. I tell them that the farmer of this country walks much more in his fields, buying seeds and selling crop,” he said.
“You gave us your strength and we will interact with you over the next 10 days in the state,” he told the gathering.
Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring and leader of opposition Partap Singh Bajwa said that the yatra is not for the Congress alone, but for the country. “The yatra is being undertaken to give the message of brotherhood,” he said.
Thanks Haryana for response
Earlier, Rahul thanked the Haryana Congress leaders for the turnout in the state. He said the BJP claimed that his yatra would not get support in the Hindi belt, but it was turning out otherwise. “People are fed up with unemployment, divisive politics and inflation. I am here to listen to you and your issues,” he said.
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda expressed hope that the foot march would get massive support in Punjab. “This ‘janchetna’ (public awareness), started by Rahul Gandhi, is for every section, including farmers, labourers, traders and employees. It has turned into ‘janandolan’ (public movement),” he said.
Night halt at Ludhiana
Former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Congress MP Manish Tewari and Haryana Congress chief Udai Bhan accompanied Gandhi on the yatra.
They were joined by party workers when the yatra began from new Dana Mandi in Sirhind. The yatra will take a break at Mandi Gobindgarh and resume at 3.30pm. The march will make a night halt at Barmalipur playground near Ludhiana.
After starting from Sirhind, the yatra will pass through Mandi Gobindgarh, Khanna, Sahnewal, Ludhiana, Goraya, Phagwara, Jalandhar, Dasuya and Mukerian. A rally will be held in Pathankot on January 19 before the yatra enters Jammu and Kashmir.
The yatra, which started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7, will conclude in Srinagar on January 30, with Gandhi hoisting the national flag.
The march has covered Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.