Bengal led freedom struggle, must lead fight against hate: Rahul Gandhi in Siliguri

The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra will halt near Siliguri for the night, before heading for Uttar Dinajpur and entering Bihar on Monday

Rahul Gandhi in the open-hood vehicle in Siliguri (photo: @bharatjodo/X)
Rahul Gandhi in the open-hood vehicle in Siliguri (photo: @bharatjodo/X)

NH Digital

"Bengal will show the country the way." This was the message from Congress MP Rahul Gandhi at a brief public meeting at Airview Junction in Siliguri on Sunday evening as part of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, which resumed from Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal on Sunday afternoon. "The love that I got in Bengal, I didn't get anywhere else," he said.

At the same time, Gandhi fired a salvo against the BJP government at the Centre, saying, "Violence is slowly spreading across the entire country. The Modi government is indulging in politics of hate."

Gandhi also said the Union government had "made a mockery of the youths who wanted to join the armed forces by introducing the Agniveer scheme (a short-term recruitment scheme for the armed forces)", and added that the Centre was working only for "big corporations", not for the poor and the youth.

Expressing his gratitude for the reception he was given in West Bengal, he said “Bengal led the ideological fight during the Independence struggle. It is the duty of Bengal and Bengalis to lead the fight against hate and bind the nation together in present circumstances.”

Gandhi also said the youth want work, but their dreams are not fulfilled. "If you do good work, you will be ignored. But become a tout, and you will gain respect. That is why there is anger among the youth of the country."

Gandhi was earlier denied permission to address a public rally at Airview Mor (junction) by the local administration, on the grounds that a police examination had been scheduled for Sunday and security would hence be a problem. He was also asked not to enter Siliguri before 2.00 pm for the same reason. The yatra will halt near Siliguri for the night, before heading for Uttar Dinajpur and entering Bihar on Monday.

Since no permission had been granted for a gathering at the junction, the Congress leader addressed the crowds from an open-hood vehicle. "A mechanic has become the owner of a car factory in Japan. But India does not have that environment. A mechanic in India who dreams of owning a car factory is ridiculed. The day even a farmer or a garage worker is respected, everyone in the country will get a job," he said.

The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra entered Siliguri from Jalpaiguri this afternoon, passing through Thana Mor, Udalpul, and Airview Junction. Huge crowds gathered for a closer look at the Congress MP as supporters were seen waving party flags and chanting slogans. Some others handed over gifts to the leader, which he accepted.

From Bihar, the yatra will return to West Bengal for a tour of Murshidabad and Malda, with Gandhi and Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee both set to address public rallies in Malda on 31 January.

On Saturday, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had written to Banerjee, urging her to ensure that the BJNY received smooth passage through the state, after the party alleged that some banners had been vandalised in Jalpaiguri. In his letter, Kharge expressed the fear that "miscreants" may try to show the state administration in a bad light or disrupt the yatra, as had happened in "some neighbouring states", in an obvious reference to Assam.

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