Thiruvananthapuram: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday again attacked the BJP by questioning how a party which calls itself a representative of Hindus was allegedly spreading ‘ashanti’ in the country when the first words taught in Hinduism is ‘om shanti’.
A day ago, the Congress leader had attacked the BJP by alleging that the saffron party has proved that hatred can be used politically and to win polls, but cannot generate employment.
On Tuesday evening, addressing a huge crowd at Kallambalam here at the end of the third day of the Kerala leg of Congress party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, Gandhi said the first thing that is taught in Hinduism are the words ‘om shanti’.
“Then please explain to me how a party that calls itself a representative of the Hindus was creating ‘ashanti’ in the whole country? Wherever they are going they are destroying harmony, they are attacking people, they are dividing people, abusing them.
“But the essence of all religions is peace, harmony and compassion. All religions teach us to respect each other and that is the spirit of the yatra, to unite all Indians irrespective of their religion, community, language, etc.,” Gandhi, also the MP from Wayanad, said.
Giving details of his itinerary for the next day, he said that he would be paying his respects to renowned social reformer Sree Narayana Guru at Sivagiri here.
The third day of the Kerala leg of the yatra went ahead amid intermittent rains and swelling public turnout, with the Congress leader saying that even blisters will not stop their journey as he and scores of yatris marched along the streets without an umbrella when it rained.
Gandhi, who has embarked on the 3,500 km Kanyakumari-Kashmir footmarch, said though the participants suffered from blisters on their feet, the campaign would go on.
In a Facebook post, Gandhi said, “even though the feet have blisters, We are out to unite the country, We are not going to stop. #BharatJodoYatra,” and uploaded a related video clip.
Scores of people lined up on the roadsides despite rains in the city, to greet Gandhi and the other padayatris.
The third day of the yatra, which commenced around 7.15 AM from Kaniyapuram near Kazhakootam, saw an encouraging turnout of people like the previous two days of the Kerala leg of the foot march, which is set to cover 3,570 km from Kanyakumari to Kashmir over a 150-day period.
After the yatra reached its first halt point at Attingal here, Gandhi posted a Hindi verse on his Facebook page wherein he said their courage is not broken nor will they allow it break, dreams have not been scattered nor will they allow it to scatter, hope is not lost nor will they lose it, there is no disappointment nor will people be let down and together we will unite our country.
He also posted that wherever he went during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, people are concerned about inflation and rising prices.
He claimed that the Prime Minister was deliberately ignoring the plight of the people.
“We will turn every lament of the people of India into a roar. We will keep uniting India,” he further said in the post.
During the break between the first and second phases of the day’s yatra, Gandhi interacted with MGNREGA workers and activists opposing K-Rail’s Silverline project.
“During lunch break at Attingal, @RahulGandhi listened to MGNREGA workers & activists opposing K-Rail. He articulated the need for a new paradigm for social welfare, and that K-Rail is unnecessary with cheaper & better options available for mass transportation. #BharatJodoYatra,” Jairam Ramesh, Congress General Secretary in-charge Communications, tweeted.
The yatra, which resumed at 5 PM, ended for the day at Kallambalam junction here.
The 150-day foot march was launched from Kanyakumari in neighbouring Tamil Nadu on September 7 and will cover 12 states and two Union territories.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra, which entered Kerala on September 10 evening, will traverse through the state covering 450 kilometres, touching seven districts over a period of 19 days before entering Karnataka on October 1.