“Didn’t Walk For Myself Or Congress, But…”
The Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra’s closing ceremony began with a flag-hoisting ceremony at the party’s office in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar today amid inclement weather. A rally at a stadium followed soon. Top Kashmiri leaders, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti from People’s Democratic Party, spoke at the event amid heavy snowfall. Speeches by the Congress leadership, including Rahul Gandhi, who has led the march, followed.
“I have not done this (yatra) for myself or for the Congress, but for the people of the country. Our aim is to stand against the ideology that wants to destroy the foundation of this country,” Rahul Gandhi said at the culmination rally.
Mr Gandhi challenged the BJP top brass to undertake a yatra like his in Jammu and Kashmir, saying they will never do it as they are scared.
“I can guarantee you that no BJP leader can walk like this in Jammu and Kashmir. They will not do it, not because they won’t be allowed to but because they are scared,” he said.
As part of the closing ceremony of the Congress’s pan-India foot march, the Congress organised the mega rally at Sher-I-Kashmir Cricket Stadium to mark the end of 135-day long Kanyakumari to Kashmir yatra.
Besides the entire Congress leadership, over a dozen leaders from opposition parties will attend the rally. However, the snowfall has forced the closure of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, and may disrupt air traffic as well. Many opposition leaders who were expected to arrive for the finale of the yatra, led by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, might not be able to make it.
Low visibility and continuous snowfall has delayed all flights to Srinagar, Kuldeep Singh Rishi, Srinagar’s airport director said on Twitter.
Vistara Airlines cancelled both its flights from Delhi to Srinagar for the day.
21 parties were invited for the function, but some are not attending due to security concerns, sources said. Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, and TDP are among the parties to skip the function.
The “padyatra” concluded at the Lal Chowk area on Sunday with Rahul Gandhi unfurling the national flag, but the official closing would take place on Monday in Srinagar, which is witnessing snowfall.
The 12 parties confirmed to attend are — MK Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Tejashwi Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena, CPI(M), CPI, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Kerala Congress, Farooq Abdullah-led Jammu & Kashmir National Conference, Mehbooba Mufti’s Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Shibu Soren’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).
The Kanyakumari to Kashmir yatra started from the southern tip of the country on September 7 and ends on January 30 in Srinagar, after covering 3,970 km in 12 states, and two Union territories.
Rahul Gandhi held over 100 corner meetings, and 13 press conferences during the yatra. He had over 275 planned walking interactions and more than 100 sitting interactions.