Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said the aim of his Bharat Jodo Yatra was to save the liberal and secular ethos of the country which, he claimed, was facing an assault from the BJP and the RSS.
”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,” he said at a rally here to mark the culmination of the 136-day march.
The rally went ahead despite heavy snowfall in the city. Gandhi said the RSS and the BJP were targeting the liberal and secular ethos of the country by inciting violence.
Recalling the moments when he was informed about the assassination of his grandmother and father — former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi — over phone calls, the former Congress president said the inciters of violence will never understand that pain.
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”Those who incite violence – like Modiji, Amit Shahji, the BJP and the RSS – will never understand this pain. The family of an Army man will understand, the family of the CRPF personnel who were killed in Pulwama will understand, Kashmiris will understand that pain when one gets that call.
”The aim of the yatra is to end the phone calls announcing the deaths of loved ones — be it a soldier, a CRPF jawan or any Kashmiri,” he added.
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.
Gandhi said he was advised against walking the Jammu and Kashmir lap on the grounds that he might be attacked.
”I thought over it and then decided that I will walk in my home and with my people (in J&K). Why not give them (his enemies) a chance to change the colour of my shirt, let them make it red.
”The people of Kashmir did not give me hand grenades, only their hearts full of love,” he said.