BJNY: Rahul Gandhi blows a kiss to BJP supporters cheering for Modi

The Congress leader, now in Madhya Pradesh, halted to engage with chanting BJP workers, before going on to visit the Mahakal temple in Ujjain

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi waves at supporters in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday (photo: PTI)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi waves at supporters in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday (photo: PTI)

NH Political Bureau

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra (BJNY) witnessed a surprise encounter in Shajapur city of Madhya Pradesh today, 5 March, as BJP supporters cheered "Modi! Modi!" while his convoy passed through the area.

The Congress leader halted the procession to engage with the chanting BJP workers, even blowing them a kiss in response.

The yatra, which entered BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, 2 March, encountered this group of BJP supporters led by corporator Mukesh Dubey, who was raising slogans in praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi along the Nyay Yatra route.

Rahul Gandhi, upon spotting the group, paused the convoy to interact with them, exchanging greetings and handshakes as the BJP workers shouted "Jai Shri Ram".

Following the brief exchange, Rahul Gandhi returned to his vehicle, waving and blowing them a kiss before continuing the journey.

Speaking to PTI afterwards, BJP corporator Dubey mentioned Rahul Gandhi's gesture in response to their slogans, stating he had welcomed Gandhi and even presented potatoes to the Congress leader.

"I told Rahul Gandhi that you are welcome," he said.

The yatra proceeded to Ujjain later in the day, where he would visit the Shri Mahakaleshwar Temple.

The Ujjain Mahakal temple visit is Gandhi's second visit to the shrine on a Bharat Jodo expedition. He was last here on 29 November 2022, during the original north-to-south Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Almost exactly a month ago, Gandhi was prevented from entering the Batadrava Than (a shrine to Sri Shankaradev) by the local police 'on orders', on the Assam leg of the Nyay Yatra—and even today, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma made it a point to reiterate that he and his supporters would be charged for damage to public property and creating a nuisance when they sat down outside that shrine.

Earlier in the day, addressing a gathering at Shajapur, Gandhi ruefully compared Chinese and Indian youth in terms of their employment opportunities and engagement with mobile phones and social media: "While Chinese youth earn profits by selling phones, Indian industrialists who sell phones also benefit. Chinese youth earn profits, and our youth watch reels for 6-7 hours a day. I want to see ‘Made in Madhya Pradesh’ written on the mobile phones in our pockets. Let our youth earn money from mobile phones, and let Chinese youth watch reels on phones made here."

"Modi-Ji does not want this. Modi wants you to be addicted to your mobile phones all day, chant Jai Shri Ram, and die of hunger," he added.

Addressing the encounter later in the day with the BJP supporters, just after his visit to the temple, Gandhi seemed unfazed: "Establishing Mohabbat Ki Dukan is not as challenging as it seems. When I was arriving, some people stood with BJP flags, shouting. I got out of the car, went to them, shook hands, and asked them, ‘Brothers, how are you?’ They ceased their clamor, and as I departed, they bid me farewell with affection.

"Hatred takes root within those who evade life and succumb to fear. However, those who confront life, who do not yield to fear, (they) do not succumb to hatred. Because they know they can, they possess the capability and are unafraid," he finished.

With PTI inputs

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