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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi waves to supporters while leading the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, in Kathua on Friday.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi waves to supporters while leading the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, in Kathua on Friday.
| Photo Credit: ANI

The Congress will launch a two-month door-to-door campaign across India from next week to spread Rahul Gandhi’s message among the masses, senior leader Jairam Ramesh said on Friday.

The Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra is a fight between the BJP-RSS combine’s ideology and the Congress, which has always believed in unity and brotherhood, Ramesh said and mentioned that his party had prepared a “charge sheet” against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government.

“The Congress has prepared a charge sheet against the Modi government that will be released in Delhi on Saturday. We will go with copies of the charge sheet along with the message of Rahul Gandhi to every household in the country,” the Ramesh, the Congress general secretary said at the end of the Bharat Jodo Yatra’s first day here.

Ramesh, who was flanked by senior colleagues, including former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh and Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee chief Vikar Rasool Wani, said the ‘Haath Se Haath’ campaign would run from January 26 to March 26.

Under the campaign, Congress workers will be mobilised in all 2.5 lakh panchayats, six lakh villages and 10 lakh polling booths to spread the message of Gandhi, who launched the Kanyakumari-to-Kashmir yatra to remove hatred and spread the message of love, Ramesh said.

The march, which started from Kanyakumari on September 7, is in its final phase. It is scheduled to culminate in Srinagar with Gandhi hoisting the national flag at the party headquarters on January 30.

Calling economic inequality, social polarisation and political dictatorship the three major worrisome issues for the country, Ramesh said, “While others subscribe to the view that unity is diversity, we believe it is diversity which leads to unity. When we are suppressing the diversity, which BJP and RSS is doing right now, it means our unity is in danger.”

Responding to a question about National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah advocating for dialogue with Pakistan, Singh said he had every right to express his opinion.

“In all diplomatic relations and all issues, dialogue is an option and when to use it or not depends on the situation of that time,” he said.

Ramesh added that former BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had said talks and terrorism did not go together but “I want to ask this government that China is sitting on our land but we had a record trade with the country over the past two years”.

“China is occupying our land after making incursions and creating tensions on the borders in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh but the trade with it is going on without any restrictions. Who does not want to talk to Pakistan but the only condition was that cross-border terrorism should be stopped and that has been the policy of every government,” he said.

Responding to a question on the exodus of migrant Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in 1990, Singh reminded that it was not the Congress that was in power at the Centre at that time.

“As far as we are concerned, the Congress always supported that all Hindus and Muslims should live together and that is the basis of our Bharat Jodo Yatra,” he said.

Ravinder Sharma, chief spokesperson of the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee, added, “The Congress provided employment and financial packages for the rehabilitation of the community but they (the BJP government at the Centre) failed to secure their lives. They (Kashmiri Pandits), along with Dogra employees, were forced to return amid targeted killings and have been on a protest for the past over six months in Jammu.”

On the demand for restoration of Article 370, especially from the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration headed by Abdullah, Ramesh said the Congress believes that the bill introduced in Parliament on August 5, 2019, was not tabled in a democratic manner and was passed without consultation or debate.

“We want restoration of democratic activities and restoration of statehood. There is also Article 371 of the Constitution prevalent in different parts of the country where people enjoy special status under this provision,” he said.

He also alleged that the Ghulam Nabi Azad-led Democratic Azad Party “100 per cent” had the BJP’s backing.

“His party has already vanished and those leaders who have joined it returned to the Congress and we accepted them back, considering that they were on two months’ leave. Modi-Shah (Home Minister Amit Shah) strategy has failed in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

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