Bharat Jodo Yatra: Rahul preaches peace, harmony in Kerala
Wayanad MP says hatemongers will never be revered and remembered
Rahul Gandhi greets a supporter during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Alappuzha, Kerala, on Tuesday
Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that no leader who preaches hate, anger and destruction will be remembered or respected, contending that history bears testimony to this.
“The great reformers and leaders of Kerala represented the idea of peace, love, humility. Do you remember any leader who said, ‘Spread hate, divide and kill people’?” Rahul told a gathering before entering Kochi at the end of the day’s leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“Can you take one name?” he asked. “There is no such leader. Such leaders are forgotten.”
Rahul said that only those who give strength and courage to the people, and preach humility and amity, are remembered and respected.
“The people who are leading us today are spreading hate and anger. They don’t speak with humility. They speak with the utmost arrogance,” he said.
“The message of the Bharat Jodo Yatra is humility, compassion and respect for people. We are not abusing anybody, not threatening anybody. We are walking with humility.”
The BJP, which has been trying to divert attention from the Yatra’s central concerns of unemployment, prices and hate, accused the Congress on Tuesday with Muslim appeasement, days after highlighting Rahul’s meeting with a controversial Christian pastor.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra posted a photograph from the Yatra that shows Rahul holding the hand of a hijab-wearing girl and tweeted: “When votes are calculated on the basis of religion, it is called appeasement.”
Rahul has met and walked with hundreds of children during the Yatra, and has been photographed helping a girl with her sandal straps, but in those instances their religion may not have been apparent.
The BJP’s Tamil Nadu IT cell chief had last weekend targeted Rahul with another picture — an old one — of the Congress leader holding a young woman’s hand, triggering accusations of making a sordid innuendo. The woman turned out to be Rahul’s niece.
Patra’s comment attracted a fierce response from Congress social media head Supriya Shrinate, who tweeted: “Sambit, I haven’t seen a more vulgar and lowly man than you in my life. You couldn’t spare even a little girl?”
Shrinate added: “It is another matter to get rattled by seeing such huge crowds in the Yatra. But getting blinded by hate in this manner?”
Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh tweeted: “Worse than pits.”
Patra’s tweet was the latest among at least four instances of the BJP looking at the 13-day-old Yatra through sectarian prisms.
Union minister Smriti Irani had incorrectly implied that Rahul had not visited the Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari while launching the Yatra — an attempt to tell Hindus that the Congress doesn’t care for them or their religion.
BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya had on September 10 tweeted: “It is 4th day of Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra. Someone who hops temples before elections, didn’t have a single visit to a Hindu temple or institution in his itinerary, but had all the time for controversial Hindu hate mongers. Does Rahul Gandhi’s idea of India have no place for Hindus?”
The other attempts involved Rahul’s meeting with the Christian pastor, known for his controversial views, and the hijab-clad girl.
Within hours, Patra’s tweet had been re-tweeted over 3,300 times with around 12,000 likes.
Some Congress leaders privately wondered whether a politician in India was now supposed to walk only with Hindu children, and not those from other communities.
For all the divisive comments such as Patra’s and Malviya’s, senior BJP leaders are compelled to invoke Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel and Swami Vivekananda at international platforms, and the weightier national platforms, instead of promoting their icons V.D. Savarkar and M.S. Golwalkar who openly advocated Hindu supremacy.
Walking the talk
Rahul on Tuesday revealed that the original idea of the Bharat Jodo Yatra had involved travelling by car.
“It is not easy to walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. But the reason we are walking is that we understand very clearly the struggle that you face every day in your lives,” he told the gathering.
“If you are going to walk on these streets, then we are going to walk the same streets. I told senior leaders, if you are serious in sending out a message to the people, we should walk. I am happily going to walk from one end to another.”
Courtesy: The Telegraph