Imphal, Jan 14:
The much-talked-about Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra was flagged off today in Thoubal, Manipur. Congress Chief Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi formally started the Yatra during an event in Khongjom, Thoubal.
The event, attended by several national and regional Congress leaders, saw Rahul Gandhi inaugurate the Yatra while criticizing the BJP government over the current situation in the state.
Rahul Gandhi, addressing a massive gathering of over 50,000 individuals in Thoubal district, expressed the Congress Party’s understanding of the pain and suffering endured by the people of Manipur. He criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not visiting Manipur to offer solace to those affected by the prolonged clash that has lasted for nine months. Gandhi pledged that the party would work to restore the lost trust and faith caused by the persistent violence, emphasizing their commitment to bringing relief and unity to the region.
Before Rahul Gandhi’s speech, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge symbolically handed over the national tricolor flag to Rahul Gandhi, signifying its role in accompanying him throughout his journey to Mumbai. The caravan, launched by Kharge, is equipped to accommodate Rahul Gandhi’s needs during the expedition.
Kharge, reflecting on Manipur’s significance, invoked the words of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who described the state as the “Jewel of India.” He highlighted that this sentiment was echoed by successive leaders, including Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, and Sonia Gandhi, emphasizing its aptness.
Speaking on the occasion Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that PM Modi comes to Manipur to ask for votes but when the people of the state are in trouble he doesn’t show his face. “Wo samandar ke upar sair karta firta hai aur baithe jagah jap karte rehte hein Ram Ram (He is seen touring on a bridge over the sea or is seen chanting Ram Ram)”, Kharge said.
He went on to add, “Mukh mein Ram, bagal mein choori’, don’t do this with the people…everybody has faith in God but don’t do this for votes…these people (BJP) mix religion to provoke people”.
“BJP mixes religion with politics, incites people; we fight for secularism, equality, social justice,” Kharge said.
“When Jawaharlal Nehru first visited Manipur, he described it as the jewel of India. And same was said by Indira Gandhi, and Rajiv Gandhi,” the Congress leader added. Kharge said that the Yatra “was taken out by the Congress to save Constitution, democracy and to stop fascist forces in the country.” The Yatra “is aimed at ensuring employment for people, and is against price rise and for the rights of farmers,” said the Congress president.
Recalling Rahul Gandhi’s extensive interaction with diverse sections of the population during his “Bharat Jodo Yatra” from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, Kharge appealed to the people of Manipur to support Rahul Gandhi’s “Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra” initiative.
Prior to the main event, Rahul Gandhi paid tribute to the legacy of sacrifice at the Khongjom War Memorial in Thoubal District. He then addressed a large gathering at the main venue, officially inaugurating the “Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra” as part of his engagement in Manipur.
The transformative yatra is set to cover 6,713 km by bus and on foot, passing through 100 Lok Sabha constituencies in 15 states, spanning 110 districts over 67 days. The march is expected to conclude in Mumbai on March 20 or 21.