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For BJP, Covid is where Bharat Jodo Yatra is: Rahul Gandhi

Faridabad: Mounting his attack on the BJP, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the ruling party can hold as many public meetings as it wants in the rest of India but sees Covid only where his Bharat Jodo Yatra is passing through.

His fresh attack came a day after he said the government is coming up with “excuses” to stop the Kanyakumari-to-Kashmir yatra, which is currently in Haryana and will enter the national capital on Saturday.

“Now, (the Union) health minister is writing me letter that Covid has come back, stop the yatra. In the rest of India, BJP can hold as many public meetings as they want, but where Bharat Jodo Yatra is going on, there is Corona and Covid,” Gandhi said addressing a public meeting here Friday evening.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, addressing a news conference here earlier in the day, accused the government of orchestrating the “Covid drama” to defame and derail the Bharat Jodo Yatra and said his party would follow any protocol based on scientific advice that would be uniformly implemented.

Earlier this week, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya wrote to Gandhi requesting him to consider suspending the march if Covid protocols could not be followed.

Addressing the gathering here, Gandhi lashed out at the BJP and said a select few are spreading hate and they want farmers and the youth to have fear in their hearts so they can convert it into hatred.

“But India’s common people including farmers and the youth are speaking the language of love, walking together and moving hand-in-hand,” he said.

The previous UPA government’s policies were pro-people and pro-poor, but the BJP dispensation’s polices such as demonetisation and “wrong GST” spread fear, he said.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra is against unemployment, inflation, and fear and hatred, he said.

The Kanyakumari-to-Kashmir yatra, a mass contact initiative of the Congress which started on September 7, has so far covered Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and is currently passing through Haryana.

Gandhi referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of “Congress-mukt Bharat” in the run-up to the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary polls, and said, “Congress is not an organisation, not a political outfit, but a way of thinking and a way of living. On one hand is RSS and BJP and on the other hand Congress party. These are two ways of thinking and living.”

“BJP and RSS nafrat ki bazaar, Congress mohabbat ki dukan ussi nafrat ke bazaar mein,” Gandhi said, reiterating that he is “opening a shop of love in the market of hate”.

“Hatred, violence and fear which RSS and BJP spread, Narendra Modi understood this, but he could not understand Congress party, Congress’ ideology because no one can wipe out love from this country,” Gandhi said.

Don’t think the fight is between Congress and BJP, he told the gathering and added this fight has been going on for thousands of years.

“They spread hatred, we spread love. They spread violence, we counter with non-violence. They are scared, we are not. This is the difference,” he said.

“For seven to eight years, Modi ji has used thousands of crores of rupees to defame me and the Congress. I did not speak a word. Whatever lies, he spoke about me, I did not speak a word and I remained silent. I never tried to protect myself,” he said.

Then referring to his yatra, which he said has drawn overwhelming public support, Gandhi said, “But in one month, I blew their thousands of crores of rupees. Entire country saw this man (Rahul) has only love for his nation, farmers, labourers.”

“They (BJP-RSS) did the job of dividing India and spreading hatred. Before starting from Kanyakumari, I thought hatred is there in entire country. I was scared. But when I started, I came to know one thing, there is no hatred, only love,” he said.

“There is India in this yatra, there is love and we will unfurl the tricolour in Srinagar when the yatra reaches there,” said Gandhi.

Senior Congress leaders from the state including former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Kumari Selja were present in the meeting.

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