Bharat Jodo Yatra: Congress Invites 21 Parties To Join Srinagar Event

New Delhi- Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has invited leaders of 21 like-minded parties to join the concluding function of the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Srinagar on January 30, saying their presence would strengthen the march’s message of truth, compassion and non-violence.

In a letter to the heads of the parties, he said from the beginning of the yatra, the Congress has sought the participation of every like-minded party and on the invitation of Rahul Gandhi, MPs of several political parties joined it at different stages.

“I now invite you to personally join the concluding function of the Bharat Jodo Yatra to be held in Srinagar on January 30 at noon. The function is dedicated to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, who lost his life on this day in his tireless struggle against the ideology of hatred and violence,” Kharge wrote.

“At this event, we will commit ourselves to fighting hatred and violence, to spread the message of truth, compassion and non-violence, and to defend the constitutional values of liberty, equality, fraternity and justice for all. At this time of crisis for our country, where public attention is systematically diverted from people’s issues, the yatra has emerged as a powerful voice. I hope you will participate and further strengthen its message,” he said.

Among the opposition parties which have been invited are Trinamool Congress (TMC), JDU, Shiv Sena, TDP, National Conference, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, DMK, CPI, CPI-M and the JMM.

The RJD, RLSP, HAM, PDP, NCP, MDMK, VCK, IUML, KSM and RSP have also been invited.

Among the leaders invited by the Congress are Lalu Prasad Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah of the NC, and former parliamentarian Sharad Yadav.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7 and will conclude in Srinagar on January 30, with Rahul Gandhi hoisting the national flag there.

The march has so far covered more than 3,300 km passing through Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and is now in Punjab. The yatra will cover a total distance of 3,570 km during its entire journey.

Kharge said, “Today, India faces an economic, social and political crisis. At this time, when the Opposition’s voice is being suppressed in Parliament and the media, the yatra is connecting directly with lakhs of people.” “We have discussed the grave issues affecting our nation – inflation, unemployment, social divisions, weakening of democratic institutions and the threat on our borders. All sections of society have also participated and shared their problems – youth, women and elderly, farmers, labourers, small businessmen and industrialists, dalits, adivasis, and linguistic and religious minorities, activists, artists and spiritual leaders. This direct conversation with the people has been a major achievement of the yatra,” the Congress president wrote.

Lal Singh’s DSSP, Shiv Sena To Join Rahul’s Yatra

Extending support to Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, the Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party and the Jammu and Kashmir unit of Shiv Sena Wednesday announced they will join the march when it enters Jammu and Kashmir next week.

A DSSP spokesperson said that at a meeting, the party unanimously decided to accord a warm welcome to the Bharat Jodo Yatra on reaching Kathua district from Punjab on January 20.

The DSSP was formed by former minister Choudhary Lal Singh after parting ways with the BJP in 2018.

Singh, a two-time MP and three-time MLA who switched from the Congress to BJP in 2014, asked all like-minded parties to support the yatra and defeat the “nefarious designs of enemies” within and outside the country.

“The DSSP which is heading the Municipal Council Kathua will accord a warm welcome to the Bharat Jodo Yatra on behalf of all Dogras of Jammu. The forces hell bent upon to break the secular fabric of Jammu and Kashmir need to be defeated,” he said.

Earlier, the president of the J-K unit of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), Manish Sahni lauded Gandhi for the march and appealed to people to join it in huge numbers to give a “befitting reply to those who do politics of hatred and religion”.

“We will welcome and join the Bharat Jodo Yatra on its arrival in the city of temples as per the instructions of party’s national secretary and MP Anil Desai. In this era of despair and hatred, the Yatra which is carrying the message of brotherhood is most needed in the country, especially in Jammu and Kashmir,” he told reporters here.

He charged that religion and casteism are being resorted to to divert public attention from various important issues like unemployment, inflation and economic distress.

“Jammu and Kashmir, the crown of the country, is suffering after it was bifurcated into two union territories (in August 2019) and its special status under Article 370 taken away,” he said, adding people have been waiting for restoration of the democratic process over the past three years.

He also added that terrorist attacks on minorities have witnessed a spurt over the past couple of years.

The Yatra, which started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7, will conclude in Srinagar by January 30, with Gandhi hoisting the national flag in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

The march has so far covered Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Welcoming the decision of the DSSP and Shiv Sena to join the yatra, J&K Congress chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said several top leaders of different political parties are likely to join the yatra in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The support to Yatra has unnerved the BJP whose leaders are issuing irresponsible and illogical statements as they feel that the failure of the policies and programmes of the centre government and UT administration would get exposed before the nation,” he said.

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