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"Yatra will go on...will influence our morale": Salman Khurshid as 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' kicks off from Manipur

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New Delhi | January 15, 2024 1:53:03 AM IST
As the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' kicked off from Manipur's Thoubal district, Congress leader Salman Khurshid said on Sunday that the 'yatra' would go on and that it would influence the morale of the party leaders.

"Yatra has just started and it has begun very well. The Yatra will go on and it will influence our morale," Khurshid said while speaking to ANI.

Earlier on Sunday, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi kicked off his second large-scale outreach programme, the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, from Manipur's Thoubal district with a commitment to bring peace and harmony to the ethnic violence-hit state.

Rahul Gandhi, while addressing the gathering after launching the yatra, said that his party started the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra to ensure justice for the people as they are facing a period of 'great injustice' in the country.

"The question arose: why the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra? It is because we are going through a period of great injustice in India. It is of all kinds--social, political and economical," Rahul Gandhi said after launching his yatra from Manipur's Thoubal.

The Congress leader also came down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not visiting the ethnically strife-torn state and said that it is 'shameful' that the PM of the country did not come to wipe the tears of the people.

"I've been in politics since 2004 and for the first time, I visited a place in India where the entire infrastructure of governance has collapsed. After I visited the state on June 29, Manipur wasn't Manipur anymore; it got divided and hatred was spread everywhere. Lakhs of people suffered losses. People lost their loved ones in front of their eyes. And till now, the Indian PM has not come here to wipe your tears and hold your hand. It is a shameful thing," Rahul said.

Rahul Gandhi also said that Manipur has lost what it holds precious because of the BJP's politics and added that his party will bring back the harmony and peace for which the state was known.

"We are here to listen to you, share your pain, and present a new vision of India that is one of harmony and equity. We understand your loss and grief and will bring back the harmony and peace for which Manipur was known," he said.

He also alleged the situation in the state is a symbol of 'BJP and RSS' hatred'.

"Manipur is a symbol of the BJP's politics; Manipur is a symbol of the BJP and the RSS's hatred. Manipur is a symbol of the BJP's viewpoint and ideology. Maybe for PM Modi, the BJP and the RSS, Manipur is not a part of India," the Congress leader said.

Launching an attack on PM Modi, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge criticised PM Modi for visiting Manipur to ask for votes but not when the north-eastern state was gripped by ethnic violence.

"PM Modi comes to Manipur to ask for votes but when the people of Manipur are in trouble, he doesn't show his face. 'Wo samandar ke upar sair karta firta hai aur baithe jagah jap karte rehte hein Ram Ram'. Mukh mein Ram, bagal mein choori', don't do this with the people. Everybody has faith in God but don't do this for votes. These people (BJP) mix religion to provoke people," Kharge said.

Kharge further hit out at PM Modi and said that the latter keeps chanting the name of Lord Ram to seek votes.

"PM Modi keeps chanting 'Ram, Ram', but he shouldn't do it to seek votes," he said.

He further alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) mixes religion with politics and incites people.

"BJP mixes religion with politics and incites people. We fight for secularism, equality, and social justice..Rahul Gandhi has come to Manipur to share your pain and talk about your problems," he added.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and other top leaders of the party participated in the launch ceremony of the yatra.

The unrest that erupted in the northeastern state in May of the previous year has resulted in the loss of over 180 lives and displaced thousands of people.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, MP Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders have boarded the bus, which will accompany the yatra for the coming 66 days.

The yatra began at noon at the Khongjom War Memorial. It will cover a distance of 6,713 km, straddling 100 Lok Sabha constituencies and 337 assembly segments and covering 110 districts. The yatra will conclude in Mumbai on March 20, after 67 days.

A follow-up to the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' which saw Rahul Gandhi cover more than 3,000 kilometres on foot--from Kanya Kumari to Srinagar--the latest campaign, Bharat Jodo Yatra 2.0, will be a hybrid one.

However, the BJP has taken a jibe at the Congress party for embarking on its second yatra.

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri asked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi whether he had ever thought about justice (Nyay) for the people of the Sikh community who suffered atrocities in 1984.

"I want to ask Rahul Gandhi, what has he thought about justice for the people of our community who suffered atrocities in 1984? Did he ever go there and apologise to the people?... Rahul Gandhi is distracted and keeps saying anything. His people said things about Sanatana Dharma and this is unfortunate," Puri told ANI on Sunday. (ANI)

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