Gandhi launched the yatra at a rally by the seaside in Kanyakumari after he prayed and paid respects at the Gandhi Mandapam, Kamaraj Mandapam, Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvallur Memorial. Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin and Congress chief ministers Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Bhaghel handed over Gandhi a Tricolour at the Gandhi Mandapam, with senior leaders KC Venugopal and Digvijaya Singh flanking him. Gandhi and 118 Bharat Yatris will begin a journey by foot on Thursday from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.
Addressing the rally, Gandhi narrated how people of India earned the Tricolour after a struggle and asserted that the National Flag represented the honour and diversity of the Indian nation. “This flag guarantees every single Indian person protection in this country. It guarantees every single person a free and fair life in this country. It guarantees everybody the right to practice any religion, speak any language they desire. And today, brothers and sisters, this flag is under attack,” he alleged. CWC members and AICC general secretaries were at the dais with Gandhi.
Maintaining “India is not the imposition of one idea and on its people” and “India is the culture and language of every single citizen” with institutions, free media and judiciary that protect the country and its flag, Gandhi said, “today every institution is under attack by the BJP and RSS. They think this flag is their personal property. They think they can singlehandedly determine the future of the people of the country, the future of all the states of this country.”
He said the opposition would not be cowed down by the Modi government and BJP-RSS. “They think they can frighten the opposition using CBI, ED and I-T department. The problem is they don’t understand Indians. We don’t get scared. Not a single opposition leader is going to be scared of the BJP.
Gandhi alleged the Modi government worked “only for a few industrialists”, all sections of India society, particularly, farmers, workers and jobless youth, were struggling and feeling miserable amid social and economic tensions. Therefore, the Bharat Jodo Yatra would reach out to them and unite the nation. “It is very important to bring the people of this country together so that India is united. That is the aim of the yatra. Our Bharat Jodo Yatra is designed to listen to the people. We don’t want to crush the voices of people as RSS and BJP do. We want to listen to the wisdom of the people of India.”
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