Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday officially kicked off the Congress’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ as he along with other party leaders and workers began the 3570-km rally in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari.
“Bharat Jodo Yatra a landmark occasion for Congress, confident that our organisation will be rejuvenated,” Sonia Gandhi said as the party embarked on the yatra.
“I will be participating daily in thought and spirit,” she added.
The mega rally aims to highlight burning issues such as economic disparity, social polarisation and political centralisation.
As per the details of the event disclosed by party general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh at a press conference held in the national Capital on Monday, the padayatra will move in two batches. “The morning batch will be from 7-10.30 am and the other from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm, with the latter expected to see a far greater number of participants. On average, the padyatris will walk around 22-23 km daily,” he said.
The march will culminate in Srinagar after moving through Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Punjab, covering a distance of around 3,500 kilometers in about 150 days.
Earlier on the day, Rahul Gandhi was welcomed by Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin who had also joined the Congress leader for the prayer meet at the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial in Sriperumbudur, where the former prime minister was assassinated in a suicide bomb blast in 1991.
Rahul also paid floral tribute to his father and sat in front of the memorial for about 25 minutes.
In a symbolic gesture of the commencement of Bharat Jodo Yatra, MK Stalin had also handed over the national flag to Rahul Gandhi as both the leaders saluted the tricolour.
“It is always an honour and a pleasure for me to come to Tamil Nadu. You know my relationship with the people of Tamil Nadu. It gives me tremendous joy to come to this wonderful state,” said Gandhi.