“Bharat Jodo Yatra is against the politics of hatred and also for drawing the attention of the country towards some urgent issues like inflation, unemployment and crony capitalism and it has succeeded in its purpose and mission”, Congress leaders said here today.
Addressing a press conference, the PCC president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring along with the Secretary in-charge Harish Chaudhary and the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Partap Singh Bajwa announced that the Yatra will enter Punjab through Shambhu border on January 10 and will straightway go to Fatehgarh Sahib. On January 11, after paying obeisance at the Gurdwara Sahib, Rahul Gandhi will address a public meeting before embarking on foot on his Punjab leg of the yatra.
The Congress leaders reiterated that this was not a partisan yatra. It is only that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is leading it and the logistic support is being provided by the party and workers, said Harish Chaudhary, while pointing out, people from cross section of the society from different political parties, film personalities, artistes, film stars, singers, economists and industrialists had participated in this yatra.
Chaudhary specifically appealed to the Punjabi NRIs who are right now visiting Punjab to participate in the yatra. He said, those staying abroad can mark their participation online.
Giving details, Warring said, the yatra had so far covered ten of the twelve states it was to pass through. After Punjab, he added, only one union territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be left where the yatra will conclude at Srinagar. He disclosed that while the initial estimate about the total route of the yatra was 3570 kilometers, it may go up to 4000 kms by the time it concludes.
The PCC president said, the yatra will remain in Punjab for seven days and a mega-rally will be organized at Pathankot on the concluding day before it leaves for J&K from Madhopur on its last leg.
Replying to a question about some people opposing the yatra, Warring said, Punjabis by nature are most hospitable and they welcome their guests with open arms irrespective of which party, caste or creed he belongs to.
Leader of the Opposition, Partap Singh Bajwa said, this yatra had left its mark among the people across the country and had provided “voice to the voiceless’ ‘. Those presuming that they will not be disturbed and were set to return to power in 2024 have already started feeling the tremors and the earth was already slipping from beneath their feet, he said in an oblique reference to the BJP which, he said, has been unnerved by the success of the yatra. He pointed out how the BJP government at the centre tried to scuttle the yatra by raising the excuse of COVID.
Bajwa said, the yatra will set the tone for the 2024 elections and it will make history. He recalled how earlier also leaders like Chandershekhar had organized a similar yatra and had later become the Prime Minister. Besides, he said, veteran film star and Congress leader Sunil Datt had conducted a pad-yatra (foot march) from Mumbai to Amritsar during the dark days of terrorism.
Former Congress legislators Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Amit Vij and Gurpreet GP were also present during the press conference.
The Congress leaders also condoled the death of veteran journalist NS Parwana and paid glowing tributes to him. They said it was a great loss to the state.