Rahul Gandhi to visit Mahatma Gandhi’s Sevagram Ashram in Wardha, lead Congress rally

NAGPUR: Congress president Rahul Gandhi will preside over the party’s working committee meeting at the Sevagram ashram of Mahatma Gandhi in Maharashtra’s Wardha district on Tuesday.

The Congress chief will lead a foot march on the occasion of the Father of the Nation’s 150th birth anniversary.

The Congress party has been accusing Narendra Modi government of practicing the politics of “hate and divisiveness”.

Rahul Gandhi, who has been leading the party’s tirade on the Rafale fighter jet deal, will attend a prayer meeting at the Bapu Kutir in the ashram on Tuesday morning before presiding over the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting.

He will participate in a foot-march in Wardha in the afternoon, a party leader said, adding the Congress president will also address a public meeting on Tuesday evening.

Addressing a press conference at Sevagram near Wardha, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Rahul Gandhi will lead the ‘padyatra’ after garlanding the statue of Mahatma Gandhi near the Collector’s Office in Wardha.

“The padyatra will culminate in a ‘Sankalp Rally’ at the Circus ground where he is expected to spell out the party’s future strategy and pledge to uphold Gandhian principles and ideology,” he said.

Describing Tuesday’s CWC meeting “historic”, Surjewala said, the Congress Working Committee had in 1942 met in Sevagram under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi to adopt the ‘Quit India’ resolution and a meeting was again held there in March 1948.

“There is a historical linkage to the CWC meeting scheduled (Tuesday), as (Mahatma) Gandhi’s ideology is under attack and being encroached upon in current times,” the Congress leader said.

He claimed that the situation prevailing in the country is of “loot, jhoot (lies), ‘batware’ (division) and ‘bhay’ (fear)”, from which the country needs freedom.

“Mahatma Gandhi lives in the heart and soul of every Indian. The need of the hour is to pledge to uphold his principles of equality, social justice, eradicating discrimination, ending the menace of communalism, casteism and regionalism,” he said.

In a veiled attack against the Narendra Modi government, Surjewala said those in power are merely doing a “lip service” to the Gandhian thought “after murdering it”.

“They swear by Mahatma Gandhi only for optics and photo-ops. Just by speaking about the Mahatma and releasing one’s photos (modeled on) like Gandhi, doesn’t make anybody a Gandhian,” he said in a veiled reference to the ‘Swacch Bharat’ scheme.

Surjewala also said the Congress’ fight is against “falsehood, violence and fear”.

“The Congress is fighting a war against the ideology of (Nathuram) Godse (the assassin of the Mahatma),” he said.

In April 1936, Mahatma Gandhi established his residence in the village Shegaon near Wardha which he renamed as Sevagram, which means ‘village of service’.