KANNIYAKUMARI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday along with senior party leaders began the second day of the party's Bharat Jodo Yatra from Agasteeswaram town of Kanniyakumari district in Tamil Nadu to combat the divisive politics of the BJP-led Centre, to awaken the people of the country to dangers of economic inequalities, social polarisation and political centralisation.
Senior leaders including party MPs KC Venugopal, P Chidambaram, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and others participated in 'Padyatra' along with Rahul Gandhi. Jairam Ramesh, Congress General Secretary in-charge Communications said that it is a Bharat Jodo Yatra to combat the divisive politics of BJP, to awaken the country to dangers faced by India because of economic inequalities, because of social polarisation and because of political centralisation.
"This is also a Yatra that will strengthen the party organisation, mobilise party workers and the entire party is ensuring that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is a resounding and outstanding success," said Jairam Ramesh.
He further said, "We are focussed like Arjun was focussed on the fish when he went for Draupadi's swayamvar. We have only one vision right now - to ensure the successful completion of Bharat Jodo Yatra."
The Congress leader further said that they don't want to waste his time countering the arguments from the other side.
"There will always be professional critics, arm-chair critics, people who will raise questions in India for everything you do," he added.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that the tricolour belongs to every religion, state and language, but it is under attack today by the BJP and the RSS that are dividing India on lines of religion and language. Speaking at the launch of the Bharat Jodo Yatra at a rally on Wednesday, he said every single institution of the country is under attack as he sought the support of the people to help keep the country united.
A 3,500-km march from Kanyakumari to Kashmir will be undertaken by Rahul Gandhi which will be completed in 150 days and cover as many as 12 states.
After reaching Kerala on September 11, the Yatra will traverse through the state for the next 18 days, reaching Karnataka on September 30. It will be in Karnataka for 21 days before moving north.
Earlier on Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi slammed the Bhartiya Janata Party and said that the opposition was not scared of the BJP. His remarks came while addressing the rally on its inaugural day in the evening hours.
"They (BJP) think they can frighten the opposition using CBI, ED and IT. The problem is they don't understand Indian people. Indian people don't get scared. Not a single opposition leader is going to be scared of the BJP," said Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.
He further highlighted the importance of the Indian tricolour and called out the BJP for allegedly treating it as their personal property.
"It gives me great joy to begin BharatJodoYatra from this beautiful place. The national flag represents the religion and language of every single person living in this country. They (BJP and RSS) think that this flag is their personal property," he added.
In what is being seen as a Congress' "masterstroke" to take on the Narendra Modi government in the upcoming 2024 elections, Congress launched the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' on Wednesday in which Rahul Gandhi started the 3,570 km journey lasting about 150 days from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.
As the party begins the nationwide yatra, some pertinent questions arise about the lodging and fooding of Rahul Gandhi. However, the party has made it clear that he will not stay in any hotel but rather will complete the entire journey in a simple manner.
Rahul Gandhi will stay in the container for the next 150 days. Sleeping beds, toilets and AC are also installed in some of the containers. During the journey, the temperature and environment will differ in many areas.
The arrangements have been made keeping in view the intense heat and humidity with the change of places.
"About 60 such containers have been prepared and sent to Kanyakumari where a village has been set up in which all these containers have been placed. The container will be parked in a new place every day in the shape of a village for night rest. Full-time Yatris who stay with Rahul Gandhi will eat together and stay close," said the sources.
The sources further said that Rahul Gandhi considers the Bharat Jodo Yatra journey as a way to connect with the common people.
The 148-day march will culminate in Kashmir. The five-month Yatra is scheduled to cover a distance of 3,500 kilometres and more than 12 states. The Padyatra (march) will cover a distance of 25 km every day.
The Yatra will include Padayatras, rallies, and public meetings which will be attended by the senior Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
The Congress suffered a debacle in the assembly polls held earlier this year and the Yatra is seen as an attempt to rally the party rank and file for the upcoming electoral battles.