Congress's Bharat Jodo Yatra concludes today, other parties to join
The Congress's pan-India march Bharat Jodo Yatra culminated in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, on Sunday and will officially conclude on Monday with a rally led by Rahul Gandhi at Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium, which other like-minded parties are expected to join. The party has invited 21 non-National Democratic Alliance (NDA) parties to the closing ceremony, including the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).
Why does this story matter?
- Billed to be the longest political march organized by any party in India's history, the Bharat Jodo Yatra was a novel political move by Congress, a party struggling to find its footing in recent years.
- Setting off on September 7, it had a rocky start, with several senior leaders quitting the party. Nonetheless, the 4,080-km yatra is expected to give it a much-needed impetus.
National flag hoisted at Srinagar's Lal Chowk
The foot march reached Srinagar on Sunday. Accompanied by his sister and Congress General Secretary Prianka Gandhi Vadra, among other leaders, Rahul Gandhi marked the final day of the march by unfurling the national flag at the historic clock tower of Lal Chowk, Srinagar's business nerve center. All roads leading to Lal Chowk were sealed off from Saturday night for the flag hoisting.
AIADMK, AIMIM, BJD not invited to the rally
The final day will kick off with a function at the Jammu and Kashmir Congress headquarters in Srinagar, followed by the Gandhi-led rally. Several opposition parties have been invited to join the rally, except five—All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).
BJY passed through 12 states, 2 union territories
Starting from the southern tip of India in Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari, in 135 days, the foot march traversed 12 states and two union territories—Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
One of the most profound experiences: Rahul Gandhi
Addressing a press conference on Sunday, Gandhi termed the march "one of the most beautiful and profound experiences" of his life. He said it was aimed at uniting the country, contrary to the atmosphere of hate and violence spreading in India, adding "no one" expected such a tremendous response. Asserting his familial Kashmiri links, he said the promise made to India has been fulfilled.
Gandhi batted for J&K statehood but didn't mention Article 370
Talking about Jammu and Kashmir, Gandhi called for the restoration of its statehood but avoided mentioning any plan for the restoration of Article 370, which granted it special status but was abrogated in 2019. Talking about Chinese aggression along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), he targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly misleading the people by denying reports of land forfeited to China.