Srinagar- Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who set off a national debate when he walked the Bharat Jodo Yatra in a T-shirt in north India’s cold winter, donned a ‘pheran’ to ward off Kashmir’s bone-freezing chill on Monday and also to convey a message.
As the snow fell steadily, carpeting much of the Valley in white, the former Congress president was seen in a sleeveless jacket over his trademark white T-shirt earlier in the morning and then in the traditional long cloak worn by Kashmiris.
Soon after attending an event at the PCC headquarters on Maulana Azad Road here, Gandhi, who walked over 4,000 kilometres in 136 days, emerged in a grey pheran as he headed to the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket stadium for the closing ceremony of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
All politicians, including Prime Minister Modi, have donned pheran during their public rallies here in order to strike an emotional chord with the people of Kashmir.
However Rahul Gandhi has passionately highlighted his familial links with Kashmir during the yatra describing his entry to the land of his ancestors”, as a “return to his roots.”
Earlier his sister Priyanka Gandhi thanked the people of Jammu and Kashmir for welcoming the yatra with open hearts.
“When my brother was about to reach Jammu and Kashmir, he sent a message to me and my mother saying that he was getting a feeling that he was going to his home,” she said.
“He (Rahul) had said that ‘my family members (people of Kashmir), when they meet me and hug me, they have tears in their eyes, their pain and sentiments touch my heart’,” she said.
Rahul donned pheran on the last day of the yatra concealing beneath it his white T-shirt that has remained in the limelight for long. When the yatra entered Delhi, his supporters praised his resilience while his opponents criticised him. Gandhi, on his part, said he decided to wear only T-shirts during the march after meeting three poor girls “shivering in torn clothes” in Madhya Pradesh.
That’s when he decided that he won’t wear a sweater until he shivers, the Congress leader said.
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