On foot, then by bus, Maha Cong to go across state and expose BJP

The starting point will be a grand felicitation function, organised for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Mumbai on Aug. 31 on the sidelines of the third I.N.D.I.A. conclave, to mark his return as MP

Congress and BJP's respective electoral symbols (photo: NH File Photo)
Congress and BJP's respective electoral symbols (photo: NH File Photo)


Tightening the belt ahead of the upcoming civic, parliament and state assembly elections, the Maharashtra Congress has planned a series of campaigns starting with a massive ‘Lok Samvad’ padayatra to encash the public goodwill over the next few months.

The starting point will be a grand felicitation function, organised for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Mumbai on Aug. 31 on the sidelines of the third I.N.D.I.A. conclave, to mark his return as MP, said state party President Nana F. Patole.

“We have planned a mega-reception for Gandhi… a welcome on all roads or streets with party activists present in large numbers, and a magnificent felicitation at the party state headquarters, Tilak Bhavan in Dadar west,” Patole told IANS in a freewheeling chat.

“A clear message has emanated that Rahul Gandhi has fearlessly and unflinchingly exposed the affairs of the BJP government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and that’s why they hatched a conspiracy against him,” declared Patole.

The felicitation would mark the launch of the ‘Lok Samvad’ series of padayatras from Sep. 3-17 in the state across all regions and districts, connecting lakhs of workers and people from all walks of life.

“During the ‘Lok Samvad’ comprising foot-marches and later a bus-yatra’, we shall expose the ‘corruption and inefficiency’ of the Bharatiya Janata Party rule before the masses,” explained Patole.

This campaign will be parallel to the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra-2.0’ to be launched by Gandhi, but this time, the BJY will by-pass Maharashtra as it wends its way west-to-east, from Gujarat to Meghalaya.

Patole said district and regional leaders will organise the ‘padayatras’ in six regions covering the entire state, followed by a bus-yatra for the state, covering some of the remotest areas and reaching out to the masses there.

“The past almost ten years, the BJP has only misled the countrymen with false promises, while farmers, labourers, working class, the youth and women encounter severe problems in daily life and uncertain futures… The BJP completely failed to tackle burning issues like inflation, unemployment, law and order, safety of women, etc,” said Patole grimly.

Instead, he said the BJP remained busy creating a caste-religion divide, working for the interests of its few industrialist friends and leaving all the others to fend for themselves.

Attacking the Shiv Sena-BJP-Nationalist Congress Party (AP) regime in the state, Patole the administration has collapsed, corruption is rampant as there is no government to watch over the officials, tehsildar-rank officers are being arrested red-handed taking bribes and developmental works are paralysed.

The errant monsoon has compounded the tillers’ problems with a crisis of ‘double sowing’ in most parts due to delayed rains, then heavy rains, and now no rains, putting the Kharif season in danger, he said.

“Last week, 5 people died in a single day in Thane – the home town of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde… The health department is ‘sick’ with lack of adequate nurses, doctors or medical stocks. The health budget should be hiked from 1 per cent to 15 per cent,” Patole demanded.

He said the confused state government is enjoying itself, the two Deputy CMs coveting the CM’s chair, many others vying for ministerial posts and the masses mutely observing the ongoing political dramas of the past 15 months after the Maha Vikas Aghadi was toppled.

The Congress state chief slammed the government for indulging in propaganda and releasing huge advertisements to crow about its achievements, even as the education and social systems are on the verge of collapse.

“We shall expose and explain all these issues to the electorate through the ‘Lok Samvad’ padayatras and the bus yatra,” vowed Patole.

The regional foot-marches shall be led by Patole (Nagpur), Leader of Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar (Amravati), Congress Legislative Party Leader Balasaheb Thorat (North Maharashtra), ex-CM Ashok Chavan (Marathwada), ex-CM Prithviraj Chavan and President of Mumbai Congress Prof. Varsha Gaikwad (Mumbai), and then all leaders will converge in a padyatra in the Konkan region.

After Gandhi’s reception, the ‘Lok Samvad’ yatras, the state Congress has planned processions honouring Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, he said.

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Published: 13 Aug 2023, 12:21 PM