Tricolour under attack; BJP, RSS dividing country on lines of religion, language: Rahul

11:32 AM Sep 08, 2022 | PTI |

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the national flag is ”under attack” from the BJP and the RSS who see it as their ”personal property”, as he accused them of dividing India on the lines of religion and language.


Speaking at the launch of the Congress’s 3,570-km ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ at a sea side rally venue here, he said every single institution of the country is under attack with the BJP and the RSS looking to frighten the Opposition by using the Enforcement Directorate, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Income Tax Department.

”The problem is that they do not understand the Indian people. Indian people do not get scared. Does not matter how many hours of interrogation they do, does not matter. Not a single Opposition leader is going to be scared of the BJP,” he asserted.

Gandhi alleged that India is facing its worst-ever economic crisis along with the highest unemployment rate ever and the country is headed towards a disaster.

He said millions of people feel there is a need to take action to bring the country together and that is why the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is being undertaken.


The BJP thinks that it can divide this country along religious lines, its languages, Gandhi alleged and asserted that this country will always remain united. ”Some people, they look at the flag and they see three colours, a chakra and a piece of cloth and they salute the flag. But… this is much more than that.

”And this flag did not come easily. It was not given to us. It was not a gift. It was earned by the Indian people,” Gandhi said amid chants of ‘Rahul, Rahul’ from thousands of supporters who thronged the scenic venue near the confluence of the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.

Senior party leaders such as Ashok Gehlot and Mallikarjun Kharge highlighted Gandhi’s words earlier in the day after he paid floral tributes to his father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi at the latter’s memorial in Sriperumbudur, and flagged the ills of ”hate and division”.

”I lost my father to the politics of hate and division. I will not lose my beloved country to it too. Love will conquer hate. Hope will defeat fear. Together, we will overcome,” Rahul had said on Twitter.

Gandhi has been classified as a ”Bharat Yatri” and is set to walk the whole 3,570 km distance, along with 118 other leaders, from here to Kashmir, in what the party has touted as the biggest mass contact programme ever undertaken by it in independent India. The yatra may take a break of a day or two when Gandhi goes for campaigning in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly polls, yatra organisation panel chief Digvijaya Singh told a press conference.

In his remarks at the rally, Gandhi said the tricolour represents every citizen of the country and religion and language of every person.

”This flag was not earned by one person, it was earned by every single Indian person,” he said.

”This flag does not belong to any state, it belongs to every single state. It does not belong to any religion, any community, any languages, it belongs to every religion, every community, and every language,” he said.

Gandhi said the flag guarantees every single Indian person protection in this country, a free and fair life, the right to practice any religion, speak any language they desire.

”This flag is under attack. India is not the imposition of one idea on its people. India is the history, the language, the culture of every single person,” he said.

Gandhi told the gathering it is not enough to just salute the flag, it is important to defend the ideas and the values behind the flag.

He alleged all institutions in the country are under attack by the BJP and the RSS.

”They think that this flag is their personal property. They think, they can determine single handedly, the future of the people of this country, the future of all the states of this country,” he said.

Explaining the idea behind the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, Gandhi said, ”It is very important that we bring the people of India together and make sure they are united so that India remains strong. And that is the aim of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ which is designed to listen to the people of India.” ”We do not want to crush the voice of the people of India like the RSS and the BJP do,” he said.

Unlike the BJP and the RSS, he said, ”We want to listen to the wisdom of the people of India.” In his nearly 30-minute speech, Gandhi claimed India is facing its worst-ever economic crisis, the highest level of unemployment and the country is heading towards a disaster.

He alleged the BJP government has systematically attacked farmers, labourers and small and medium businesses in the country.

”A handful of large businesses control the entire country today. Ports, airports, coal, power, telecom, and every single industry is controlled by a handful of businessmen. ”The prime minister would not last one day without their support. They control the media and they ensure that the prime minister is on the television screen all day. And in exchange, the prime minister carries out policies that are in their interest,” he charged.

Demonetisation, a ”flawed” Goods and Services Tax regime and the three ”anti-farmer” laws were the three things they needed to ensure they remained in business, Gandhi said.

”The idea is very similar to what the British used to do. Divide India, make Indians fight with each other and then steal from the Indian people. Those days it used to be called the East India Company. It was one company that controlled all of India. Today, there are three-four companies that control the whole of India,” he alleged.

Gandhi also thanked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin for joining him at the rally.

In a symbolic gesture at the commencement of ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra,’ Stalin handed over the national flag to Gandhi and both the leaders saluted the tricolour.

Earlier, Stalin welcomed him here and joined the Congress leader in the prayer meet at the Gandhi Memorial here.

Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel respectively and Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President K S Alagiri took part in the prayer session, the undercurrent of which was national unity and brotherhood. Gandhi held the national flag in his hands and walked down the beach road from the Gandhi Memorial to the rally venue, accompanied by his party leaders and workers.

”The Tricolour is the identity of our unity and diversity, our self-respect. Today, taking the Tricolour in hand, took the first step of Bharat Jodo Yatra. Have to walk for miles, let’s together unite our India,” he said in a tweet.

Earlier, the Congress leader visited the mammoth Thiruvalluvar statue and the iconic Vivekananda Rock Memorial.

He also paid tributes to veteran Congress leader at K Kamraj at his memorial.


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