BJNY: "Love is in India's DNA," says Rahul Gandhi
The Congress leader spoke of wanting a Hindustan where future generations will not know any hatred or violence
"The BJP and RSS are spreading hatred while love is in the DNA of this country," said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, as his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra resumed in Chhattisgarh today, 11 February, after a two-day break.
Addressing a gathering in Kevdabadi Chowk in Raigarh, Gandhi said his party wants a "Hindustan for the future generation where hatred and violence do not exist".
"At present, hatred and violence is being spread in every corner of the country. Some say they don't like others on the basis of their language, some say they don't like others on the basis of the states they belong to. Such thoughts will weaken the country," he said.
"The Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh are spreading hatred, while love is in the DNA of this country. In this country, people belonging to different faiths and having different thoughts live together peacefully with love," Gandhi asserted.
He slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not visiting strife-torn Manipur so far, despite hundreds of people dying and scores of houses getting torched since May last year.
There is a civil war underway in the north-eastern state and the Union government is not in control, Gandhi said.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi had started the day's yatra after offering his tribute to Mahatma Gandhi's statue at Gandhi Chowk in Raigarh and proceeding to the Kharsia constituency in the district.
A huge crowd of Congress leaders and supporters gathered at the square and followed Gandhi, who was in an open vehicle accompanied by state Congress in-charge Sachin Pilot, state party chief Dipak Baij and leader of the opposition Charan Das Mahant.
Speaking of Manipur, he told the gathering in the square ruefully: "When I visited there, those from the Meitei community asked me not to get Kuki security personnel, while Kukis said the same for Meitei personnel."
Several children clambered on to his multi-utility vehicle through the day as the procession passed and Gandhi had toffees on hand to share.
Speaking to each child, Gandhi asked one young girl if she would prefer justice or injustice. "Justice," the child replied—a no-brainer, certainly—and added that she wanted a "mohabbat ka Hindustan (an India made of love)" as she loves India very much.
Defence in danger, economy shaky
Speaking to a public gathering, Gandhi slammed the Agniveer scheme, in which soldiers are recruited in the armed forces for a short term, speaking of the experiences of almost-recruits who had taken him into their confidence. Recalling their troubles, Gandhi said his party would ensure that the 1.50 lakh youth whose recruitment had been put on indefinite hold or dismissed mid-way do get justice at last.
He also spoke of the partisan attitude and lack of transparency seen in the matter of strategic choices by the defence ministry in other areas: "All defence contracts are being awarded to (industrialist Gautam) Adani. When I raised this issue in Parliament, my membership was cancelled and I was asked to vacate my official residence. I don't need their house as I live in the hearts of people," he asserted.
During his address, Gandhi showed a phone to the crowd and said it was manufactured in China, while it was being sold in India by "people like Ambani". He said
"The Chinese and Ambani are making money from such phones. I want this phone to be manufactured in Chhattisgarh," he said.
Gandhi said he decided to embark on the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra to directly connect with the people since the media does not show issues connected to them: "What you will see in the media is the wedding of children of Adani-ji and Ambani-ji, and Aishwarya Rai dancing there. You will also see Amitabh Bachchan there. You will see the World Cup (cricket). You will see 3-4 billionaires."
The media does not show issues like farmers' deaths, labour problems, etc, he claimed. "The media doesn't hear our voice. Therefore, we have directly come to you," he told the crowd.
The yatra then proceeded to the neighbouring Sakti district, where it concluded for the day as the BJNY team arrived in Korba. Gandhi and his Nyay Yoddhas halted in Bhaisma village for the night.
The yatra, a mass outreach programme led by Rahul Gandhi in a countrywide quest for justice, Raigarh on Thursday, 8 February, from Odisha. Arriving in the state through the Rengarpali check post on the Chhattisgarh–Odisha border, Gandhi addressed his first public meeting in the state there.
The BJNY will cover 536 kilometres in all in Chhattisgarh, passing through Raigarh, Sakti, Korba, Surajpur, Surguja and Balrampur districts, before entering Jharkhand on 14 February.
With PTI inputs