‘We want to listen to your Mann ki Baat’: Rahul Gandhi at Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘We want to listen to your Mann ki Baat’: Rahul Gandhi at Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra

Jan 14, 2024 05:41 PM IST

Rahul Gandhi said that Manipur is an example of the politics of hatred and ideology spread by the BJP and the RSS and assured that the Congress will strive to bring back harmony and peace to the state

GUWAHATI: After a gap of 12 months, the second leg of the Congress’s nationwide campaign, the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, started on Sunday from Khongjom in Thoubal district of Manipur, the northeastern state which has been roiled by ethnic clashes since May last year.

Congress leaders arrive at the Manipur airport ahead of the launch of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Thoubal on Sunday. (Image posted by Congress on X)
Congress leaders arrive at the Manipur airport ahead of the launch of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Thoubal on Sunday. (Image posted by Congress on X)

The yatra, led by party leader Rahul Gandhi, who arrived in Imphal on a chartered flight from Delhi with many senior Congress leaders, started with floral tributes paid at the Khongjom War Memorial for the slain heroes of the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891.

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This was followed by a big rally at a private ground in Khongjom where Gandhi addressed a large gathering. The second phase of last year’s South to North Bharat Jodo Yatra will traverse around 6,700 km and move through 15 states from East to West India and culminate in Mumbai on March 20.

“I had come to Manipur on June 29 last year and what I saw and heard then, I had never heard or seen. I have been in politics since 2004. But it was the first time I saw a collapse of governance in a state. Manipur is now divided with hatred spread in every corner,” Gandhi said in his address.

“Lakhs were affected, and people got killed in front of family members. But the Prime Minister hasn’t visited Manipur to erase your tears, to embrace you. Maybe for him, Manipur is not a part of India, and your pain is not his pain,” he added.

Gandhi said that Manipur is an example of the politics of hatred and ideology spread by BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). He assured that Congress will strive to bring back harmony and peace to Manipur.

Elaborating on the decision to name the yatra as one for ‘nyay’ (justice), he said that it was done to highlight the social, economic and political injustices happening in the country at present. He said that the purpose of the visit was to listen to the problems faced by people from all sections.

“We don’t want to tell you about our ‘mann ki baat’ but to hear about your ‘mann ki baat’. We want to know about your pain. We want to share a vision of brotherhood and harmony,” Gandhi said.

The meeting, which will kickstart Congress campaign for the coming Lok Sabha elections, was attended by a host of party leaders including party president Mallikarjun Kharge, chief ministers of several Congress-ruled states and former Manipur chief minister O Ibobi Singh.

“Ours is a long journey. I think such a yatra never took place in the past and will not take place in future. Modi comes to Manipur to seek votes, but when people of the state are in trouble, he is vacationing on the beaches and doing religious tasks in the name of Ram,” said Kharge in his address reminding how Rahul Gandhi visited the state in June last year.

The yatra commenced on Sunday afternoon from the meeting ground before stopping for an evening break at Koirengi Bazar at Imphal located around 40 km away. Gandhi and others will spend the first night of the yatra at the Koujengleima sports association football ground at Sekmai.

The start of the yatra has been in the headlines with the state’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led government first refusing permission for it to start from Hafta Kangjeibung, a popular public ground in Imphal East district, and later agreeing to it with several conditions leading the Congress to shift the venue to a private ground in Khongjom, located around 35 km from Imphal.

This is Gandhi’s second trip to the state since June last year when he undertook a two-day visit to Manipur and interacted with those who were affected by the ethnic clashes that had started a month ago.

Manipur has been roiled by ethnic violence between Meiteis, who are predominant in Imphal Valley, and the tribal Kuki-Zo community since May last year. The violence has claimed at least 200 lives and displaced around 50,000.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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