Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra: Rahul Gandhi says BJP-RSS may not be considering Manipur as a part of India

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge also slammed the prime minister, saying that he came to the northeastern state only to seek votes.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jan 14, 2024 | 7:05 PMUpdatedJan 14, 2024 | 7:07 PM

Images from the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra event in Thoubal in Manipur

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday, 14 January, embarked on the second phase of his Bharat Jodo Yatra, from Thoubal in Manipur with a promise to bring peace and harmony to the ethnic-violence-hit state.

The walkathon has been rechristened as Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. It is expected to cover 6,713 km, straddling 100 Lok Sabha constituencies and 337 Assembly segments over 110 districts. It will conclude in Mumbai on March 20 after 67 days.

MEanwhile, the violence that broke out in the northeastern state in May last year claimed more than 180 lives and rendered thousands homeless.

Addressing a public meeting in Thoubal, which is south of Manipur’s capital Imphal, Gandhi also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying perhaps Manipur was not a part of India for the BJP and the RSS.

“Lakhs of people faced losses, but the prime minister has not come here to wipe your tears, hold your hand, or embrace you. Maybe for Narendra Modi, the BJP, and the RSS, Manipur is not a part of India. Your pain is not their pain,” Gandhi said.

Related: Rahul Gandhi leads Congress’ Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra from Manipur

Accuses PM of running away

Meanwhile, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge also slammed the prime minister, saying that Modi came to the northeastern state only to seek votes and not to share the grief when the people of the state were in pain.

“We understand the pain that the people of Manipur have been through, we understand the hurt, the sadness. We will bring back harmony, peace and affection for which this state was known,” Gandhi said.

“Modi has time to drive by the sea, take a dip in the sea but has not come to Manipur. Modi keeps chanting ‘Ram, Ram’, but he should not do it to seek votes. The BJP mixes religion and politics, and incites people,” he said at the launch of the yatra.

“The BJP has ‘Ram’ on its lips but carries a knife by their side. They should not have such an approach towards people,” the Congress president said.

Also Read: Consensus on Kharge’s appointment as chairperson of INDIA bloc

‘To save Constitution and democracy’

Kharge said the Congress stood for social justice, secularism and equity. Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra is being undertaken to save the Constitution and democracy, and fight the fascist forces, he said.

The Congress president said he was proud that a leader of his party was moving from door to door to spread the message of peace.

“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 the same was said by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi,” the Congress leader added.

The Yatra “is aimed at ensuring employment for people, and is against price rise and for the rights of farmers,” said the Congress president.

Earlier, Kharge unveiled the bus on which Gandhi and other Congress leaders will travel from Manipur to Mumbai as part of the yatra.

Rahul Gandhi also paid homage at the Khongjom War Memorial in Manipur’s Thoubal district.

Gandhi reached the Imphal airport in the afternoon and was accorded a rousing welcome by Congress supporters.

From there, he went straight to the memorial. After paying homage to those killed in the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891, he spent a few minutes there.

He then went to a nearby private ground, named ‘Nyay Maidan’, where the yatra was commenced from.

(With PTI inputs)