BJY culminates with hoisting of tri-color at Lal Chowk
SRINAGAR Jan 29: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today said that though Opposition parties may have their differences but they will stand united against the RSS-BJP.
Gandhi told a press conference here this evening after the culmination of Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY) that Opposition parties will stand united against the RSS-BJP in the 2024 elections.
“There are no fissures as far as the opposition is concerned. Why do you say that?” he asked in reply to a question adding the Opposition will fight together.
“It’s a fight of ideology between the BJP and non-BJP, non-RSS parties,” he said.
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Gandhi accused the BJP and the RSS of attacking the institutional structure. “What you’re seeing in Jammu and Kashmir is the result of that institutional attack. Frankly being a member of Lok Sabha means nothing, want to talk about GST or any other issue – no. We have lost Government after Government. But this is all because of the dispensation,” he said.
He said restoration of democratic process and Statehood is imperative and the fundamental right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“I have come to J&K with open mind and open arms to help in whatever way I can. Restoration of statehood and democratic process is the first step in J&K and other steps would follow,” he added.
Gandhi said the motive behind the Yatra was to spread love amid hatred being spread by BJP and RSS across the country. He said that the BJY was from South to North but had national effect.
“The yatra has culminated in Srinagar and main function will be held tomorrow. I got a lot to experience through this yatra, I met lakhs of people, talked to them, I have no words to describe my journey as I got a good response from the people all across including J&K. It was the best experience of my life,” he said.
Gandhi said during the Yatra people raised two important issues which included unemployment and price hike. “I thank all the people across the country, media and the Yatris, CRPF, police and others who extended their support to us,” he said.
He further said the Yatra was not Congress party’s Yatra, instead of party leaders, who walked most in it. “The Yatra gave an alternative vision to the people amidst existing BJP & RSS vision that is filled with hatred and violence. Now, the people have two ways with them, one is aimed to suppress people and another is full of love and affection,” he said.
He further said this yatra has not ended but it is a first step as there is a lot more to do in future for an alternative vision for the people and some active measures will be taken in this regard.
About his yatra in J&K, he said he met a lot of people here and nobody is happy. “I met people in Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir, nobody was happy here. I am not happy with what I see in J&K, in fact, I got saddened when I walk through J&K. While entering J&K, a strange idea came to my mind about my family that descended from J&K and went to Allahabad,” he said.
He said it felt like he was going home and that was a powerful feeling. “I have affection towards people of J&K. I came here with open heart and open arms to help in whatever way I can. I was humbled with the reception we got. I think love and affection and listening is a powerful force,” he said while replying to a query.
About the improvement in security situation, he said the argument doesn’t work at a time of target killings, bomb blasts and other things.
“If the situation has improved, let Union Home Minister Amit Shah hold a rally from Jammu to Srinagar,” he said.
About the land laws, he said he has already spoke over the issue and whenever elected Government is formed, it can take a decision accordingly.
Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over tensions with China as he accused the Government of “following a dangerous approach” over the matter, suggesting that it may make the neighbouring country more brazen.
He also repeated his attack on the Centre for denial of Beijing breaching boundaries. “The Prime Minister of India is frankly the only person in the country who feels that the Chinese have not taken any land from India. I recently met some ex-army people. Even the delegation from Ladakh clearly said that 2,000 sq km of Indian territory has been taken over by the Chinese,” he said.
“I keep repeating that the approach the government is following by completely denying that Chinese have taken our land is a very dangerous approach and may gave them confidence to do more. They have to be firmly told to back off,” he said.
Gandhi, was flanked by General Secretary Incharge Communication, Jairam Ramesh, Incharge J&K Rajni Patil, JKPCC president, Vikar Rasool Wani, former PCC president Ghulam Ahmad Mir, former MP Tariq Hameed Karra, PCC working president Raman Bhalla, former Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand and others in the press conference.
Earlier, Rahul unfurled the national flag at the clock tower of Lal Chowk in Srinagar as part of the Bharat Jodo Yatra and said a promise made to India has been fulfilled.
On the final day, Rahul, along with his sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, party leaders and workers, resumed the final lap of the yatra from Pantha Chowk this morning.
He walked for about eight kilometres to Sonwar and along the way, were cheered and greeted by locals.
Within a multi-layer security ring, Gandhi, waved at people as yatris, including a large number of women, carrying the tricolour and Congress flags, moved towards Sonwar.
After reaching their destination, Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and other senior party leaders drove to Lal Chowk, where Rahul unfurled the national flag. Later the Yatra ended at Nehru Park on the bank of Dal lake.
Tomorrow, a public rally will also be held at the SK Stadium for which 23 Opposition political parties have been invited by the Congress.
While three former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir – Farooq Abdullah his son Omar and Mehbooba Mufti – have participated in Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra with enthusiasm, they were conspicuously absent during tricolour hoisting ceremony at Lal Chowk here, today.
“Leaders of Kashmir-based political parties, who joined Rahul’s yatra at Lakhanpur, Jammu, Banihal & Awantipora in last few days, were conspicuously absent at the Tricolour hoisting ceremony at Lal Chowk today,” a journalist tweeted.