Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi during interaction with media in Jammu

JAMMU — Congress leader and Member Parliament Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that Bharat Jodo Yatra has largely succeeded to fight against the narrative of hatred spread across the country and bring the folks together yet again.

“Let me tell you that we have been able to bring the people across the country together yet again through Bharat Jodo Yatra. There were a lot of lessons for us in the Yatra and we have learned a lot after meeting people of various shades during our journey,” Rahul said while addressing a press conference in Jammu, as per news agency KNO.

He said that there is no scope for hatred in the country as Congress believes in spreading the message of love. “Our endeavour is to open the shops of love across J&K that has been made a scapegoat of politics,” Rahul said, adding, “Through Bharat Jodo Yatra, we have largely been able to fight the disastrous narrative of hatred spread by the BJP in the country.”

He said that the primary focus of Congress is to get Statehood and Assembly restored in J&K. Asked if Bharat Jodo Yatra was apolitical, why was he continuously targeting BJP, Rahul responded, saying that since Congress is the grand old political party, there will surely be a bit of politics in his speeches during the Yatra.

“When Kashmiri Pandits, farmers and unemployed youth would meet me during the Yatra and hope that I will definitely raise their issues, there would obviously be a problem for me if I don’t talk about them,” the Congress leader said.

He said there was not even a tinge of hatred for anybody including PM Narendra Modi. “I am not afraid of anybody so why should I have hatred for anyone,” he said.

He said J&K youth are suffering from depression and discomfort. “We are here to listen to them and understand their issues,” he said, adding that media too has been suppressed to an extent as if Yatra is not happening at all.

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To a query about Lal Singh, Rahul said that Singh supported Yatra and that Congress appreciates that. “As far as Ghulam Nabi Azad is concerned, 90 percent of his supporters and party men were on our stage. I would like to tender my apology if we have hurt Azad or Lal Singh,” Rahul said.

On reports that crores are being spent for his Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul said that to tarnish his image, BJP and RSS spent thousands of crores and yet didn’t succeed. “I want to tell BJP that money can’t burry the truth which has a nasty habit of come out. BJP has started to understand this reality gradually,” he said.

It is pertinent to mention here that Rahul-led Bharat Jodo Yatra will enter Srinagar on January 30.

‘Armed forces don’t need to give any proof for their work’

Day after the controversial statement of senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, Member Parliament Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday denounced Singh’s utterance, terming them as ‘ridiculous’. He was quick to add that the armed forces don’t need to give proof of their work to anybody.

Replying to a query raised by journalists during a press conference in Jammu on the 130th day of Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul said neither he nor Congress agrees with Digvijay’s statement and that armed forces need not prove anything about its operations.

Rahul’s statement comes a day after veteran Congressman and former Madhya Pradesh chief Minister Digvijay Singh said that the BJP government gave no proof of surgical strikes while claiming to have killed many terrorists.

“What Digvijay has stated, I totally disagree with that. We have total trust in our Army. If the Army does something, there is no need to prove it,” Rahul said, adding, “Digvijay’s statement was his personal opinion and not our (Congress) opinion.”

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Elaborating further, Rahul said, “I don’t agree with the statement of Digvijay Singh. It is crystal clear that we disagree with it. It is the official position of Congress. The Indian armed forces do their job exceptionally well. They (armed forces) need not provide any proof.”

Rahul said that Congress is a democratic institution that allows conversations, unlike BJP and RSS. “Congress is a democratic party and there is no dictatorship. His (Digvijay’s) statement is ridiculous. It is his own view but let me tell you Congress’ view is far above his,” he said.

“The views in the party generated after the conversation within the party. I would like to assure you that Digvijaya’s views are outlined views that are not what were held by the center of the party. We are absolutely crystal clear that armed forces do a job, they do a job exceptionally well and they do not have a need to be providing proof of anything,” he said, adding, “It is in the culture of our party to allow conversations, and sometimes people have extreme views.”

“Sometimes, in every conversation, a few people say ridiculous things and in this case, I am sorry to have to say this about a senior leader (Digvijay Singh). He said a ridiculous thing, which we totally disagree with,” he added.

When asked if Digvijay’s statement will ruin the hard work done by him over the past months, Rahul said that the Bharat Jodo Yatra has achieved something very fundamental and important and will not be affected by someone’s individual comments.

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