Congress leader Rahul Gandhi resumed his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Maharashtra on Tuesday morning after visiting a gurdwara in Nanded district as the foot march entered into its 62nd day.
The Congress MP visited Gurdwara Yaadgari Baba Zoravar Singh ji Fateh Singh ji on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti a few hours after the yatra entered Maharashtra Monday night from neighbouring Telangana.
At the gurdwara, Gandhi prayed for harmony and equality, the party tweeted.
As Gandhi resumed his march, he was flanked by senior Maharashtra Congress leaders including former chief ministers Sushilkumar Shinde and Ashok Chavan, state party chief Nana Patole, and other leaders like Balasaheb Thorat, Manikrao Thakre and Naseem Khan. The march will proceed from to Atkali in Biloli city of Nanded. Gandhi is scheduled to halt at Godavari Manar Sugar Factory ground in Biloli for night stay, a party functionary said.
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On Monday night, as Gandhi said entered Maharashtra holding a ‘flaming torch’ (mashaal), he said small and medium businesses suffered due to the Centre’s wrong policies like demonetisation and poor implementation of the Goods and Service Tax. Gandhi said during his stay in Maharashtra over the next 15 days, he will listen to the voice of the state and also its pain, and asserted no force can stop his yatra, that began on September 7 from Kanniyakumari (Tamil Nadu) and will culminate in Srinagar.
The 3,570-km-long yatra led by the Congress MP reached Deglur in central Maharashtra’s Nanded district from Telangana. During his stay in the state, Gandhi will address two rallies as part of the cross-country march aimed at reviving the party.
Gandhi said the march started two months back from Kanniyakumari and it will stop only at Srinagar after hoisting the tricolour.
“No force can stop this yatra,” asserted the former Congress president, whose party was a strong political force in Maharashtra for several decades and was a constituent of the three-party ruling coalition till June this year.
Gandhi said the aim of the yatra is to bind the country together and highlighted major issues before the country.
“The reality of India is that the country cannot give employment to its youth, even if it is willing. On one hand there is unemployment, on the other hand there is inflation,” he said, attacking the Narendra Modi government.
The Congress MP said the main aim of his cross-country foot march is to raise voice against hatred, anger and violence that is being spread.
Gandhi will address two rallies during his yatra in Maharashtra – the first on November 10 in Nanded district and on November 18 at Shegaon in Buldhana district.
The march led by the Wayanad Lok Sabha MP will traverse through 15 Assembly and six parliamentary constituencies in Maharashtra during its sojourn. It will cover a distance of 382 kms across five districts before entering Madhya Pradesh on November 20.
The yatra will proceed through Nanded district for four days and enter Hingoli district on November 11, Washim on November 15, Akola on November 16 and Buldhana on November 18, according to the schedule.
The Congress has invited Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, both allies of the party, to take part in the foot march. Pawar had earlier said he would join the yatra.
However, senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan has said the participation of Pawar in the yatra in Maharashtra will depend on his health condition.
Pawar (81) was recently hospitalised in Mumbai for fever and other health issues. The NCP chief on Saturday flew to Shirdi from Mumbai with doctors and addressed a party convention briefly in the temple town in Ahmednagar district.
Sachin Ahir, a legislator of the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena, said former minister Aaditya Thackeray may join the Maharashtra leg of the 150-day-long yatra.