Congress’ ambitious foot march came to an end after covering nearly 4,000 kilometers over almost five months, with a concluding event held today in Srinagar amid blistering snow and cold. While vacant seats were seen at the finale event, leaders of several national and regional parties braved snowfall and bone-chilling cold to share the stage with Congress leaders in a show of strength to mark the culmination of Rahul Gandhi’s foot march.
The Congress has reportedly invited 21 ‘like-minded’ opposition parties for the grand finale of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, but several key parties including the TMC have given it a miss.
After unfurling the tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Sunday, Rahul Gandhi spoke on the eve of the Yatra’s finale, where he said that the march got tremendous response and love from people and “will have impact on Indian polity, but what it will be, I can’t tell right now."
- Rahul Tells Why He Did Not Wear Warm Clothes in Shivering Cold
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said, “…Four children came to me. They were beggars and had no clothes on…I hugged them…They were cold and shivering. Maybe they didn’t have food. I thought that if they’re not wearing jackets or sweaters, I too shouldn’t wear the same…"
#WATCH | Srinagar:Congress MP Rahul Gandhi says, "…Four children came to me. They were beggars&had no clothes on…I hugged them…They were cold&shivering. Maybe they didn't have food. I thought that if they're not wearing jackets or sweaters, I too shouldn't wear the same…" pic.twitter.com/Mo81yWMvho— ANI (@ANI) January 30, 2023
- Kharge’s Speech Cut Short Due to Snow
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge was at the finale event of Bharat Jodo Yatra amid blinding snowfall in Srinagar. His speech was reportedly cut short due to the heavy snowfall.
#WATCH | Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge greets party MP Rahul Gandhi at the concluding event of Bharat Jodo Yatra in Srinagar, J&K. The event is ongoing here amid heavy snowfall. pic.twitter.com/SnN4bnItn2— ANI (@ANI) January 30, 2023
- WATCH | Priyanka Gandhi Braves Heavy Snowfall at Yatra’s Finale Event
जब मेरे भाई कश्मीर की तरफ आ रहे थे, उन्होंने मुझे और मेरी मां को संदेश भेजा था।उन्होंने कहा- "मुझे लग रहा है, मैं अपने घर जा रहा हूं।
जब यहां के लोग मुझसे गले मिलते हैं तो उनकी आंखों में आंसू होते हैं…तब लगता है जैसे उनका दर्द मेरे सीने में समा रहा है।"
— Congress (@INCIndia) January 30, 2023
- When a Note by a Young Girl Helped Rahul Go On With His March
Remembering the tough days of his foot march, Rahul Gandhi narrated an incident where a young handed over a note to him on seeing him in pain after walking for 6-7 hours.
“I learned a lot. One day, I was in a lot of pain. I thought I have to walk for 6-7 hours more and it’ll be difficult. But a young girl came running to me and said that she has written something for me. She hugged me and ran away. I started reading it," Rahul Gandhi said in Srinagar during the finale event of Bharat Jodo Yatra.
She wrote, "I can see your knee is hurting because when you put pressure on that leg, it shows on your face. I can't walk with you but I'm walking beside you from my heart because I know you're walking for me & my future. Right at that moment,my pain vanished," Rahul Gandhi (2/2) pic.twitter.com/VT7foOUZ3r— ANI (@ANI) January 30, 2023
“She wrote, I can see your knee is hurting because when you put pressure on that leg, it shows on your face. I can’t walk with you but I’m walking beside you from my heart because I know you’re walking for me and my future. Right at that moment,my pain vanished," Rahul Gandhi said.
- Several Parties Attend Bharat Jodo Yatra Finale
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, NC leader Omar Abdullah and DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, and BSP MP Shyam Singh Yadav were among the leaders who attendd the concluding event of Congress party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Srinagar.
Addressing the event, former J&K CM Omar Abdullah said, “It has been a very successful yatra. Nation needed this. It has proven that there are people who like BJP & there are people who want a new Govt except BJP, who want harmony and want to live in peace and love with each other -something which the BJP can’t give.
It has been a very successful yatra. Nation needed this. It has proven that there are people who like BJP & there are people who want a new Govt except BJP, who want harmony&want to live in peace&love with each other -something which the BJP can't give: Omar Abdullah, in Srinagar pic.twitter.com/hrRULCofII— ANI (@ANI) January 30, 2023
Mehbooba Mufti also addressed the event and said, “Rahul, you said you’ve come to Kashmir your home. It’s your home. I hope what the Godse ideology snatched from J&K, from this nation will be restored. Gandhi ji said he can see a ray of hope in J&K. Today, nation can see a ray of hope in Rahul Gandhi."
- Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka’s Snowball Fight in Srinagar | WATCH
- National flag hoisted at party headquarters in Srinagar.
J&K | National flag hoisted at Congress office in Srinagar in the presence of party president Mallikarjun Kharge and party leader Rahul Gandhi in Srinagar pic.twitter.com/XQVtIVcKRm— ANI (@ANI) January 30, 2023
- Heavy snowfall might dampen finale function. Heavy snowfall in Srinagar has forced the closure of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, and may disrupt air traffic as well. Several Opposition leaders who are expected to arrive for the finale mega rally may not be able to make it, as per NDTV.
- Bharat Jodo Yatra memorial to be unveiled today. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge will unfurl the national flag at the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee headquarters and also unveil a memorial for the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
- Finale function at Congress headquarters followed by a rally. The concluding ceremony will be held at the Jammu and Kashmir Congress headquarters in Srinagar, followed by a rally led by Rahul Gandhi at the Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium, where the Congress and other like-minded parties are expected to join in, as per Hindustan Times.
- 12 Opposition parties to join. As per NDTV, 12 opposition parties will join Rahul Gandhi for the concluding function of the Bharat Jodo Yatra that kicked off on September 7 last year in Kanyakumari. These include MK Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Tejashwi Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena, CPI(M), CPI, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Kerala Congress, Farooq Abdullah-led Jammu & Kashmir National Conference, Mehbooba Mufti’s Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Shibu Soren’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).
- TMC, SP, likely to skip. Several key opposition parties including TMC, SP and TDP are likely to skip the event.
- ‘Like-minded’ Opposition parties invited. According to a senior Congress strategist, all like-minded parties, including the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharat Rashtriya Samithi (formerly TRS) have been invited to attend the march, as per Hindustan Times.
- Five political parties not invited. The AIADMK, YSRCP, BJD, AIMIM, and AIUDF - have not been invited, as per reports.
- 21 Opposition parties were invited. These include Trinamool Congress, the Janata Dal(United), the Shiv Sena-UBT, the Telugu Desam Party, the National Conference (both Farooq and Omar Abdullah were invited), the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the DMK, the CPI, the CPI(M), the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the RJD (both Lalu Prasad and Tejashwi Yadav), the RLD, the Hindustani Awam Morcha, the Peoples Democratic Party, the Nationalist Congress Party, the MDMK, the VCK, the IUML, the KSM and the RSP.
- Kharge wrote personal invites to Opposition parties. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge reportedly wrote personal letters to several opposition parties, inviting them to attend the unity march’s finale event.
- Concluding function of the Bharat Jodo Yatra today. The finale to mark the culmination of the ambitious foot march will be held today, Jan 30 in Kashmir.
- Sunday marked the last walking day of the yatra. The yatra resumed on Sunday morning from Pantha Chowk and culminated near Nehru Park on Boulevard Road in the city. Rahul Gandhi unfurled the national flag at Lal Chowk in the city in the presence of sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other party leaders.
- The yatra covered 4,080 km through 12 states and two Union territories. Rahul Gandhi addressed 12 public meetings, over 100 corner meetings, 13 press conferences. He had over 275 planned walking interactions and more than 100 sitting interactions, as per PTI.
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