With the schedule for the arrival of Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra in Madhya Pradesh getting closer, the leaders from the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress have sharpened their attacks on each other.
The yatra is scheduled to enter Burhanpur district on November 21.
Top leaders of the state BJP, including Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, state Home Minister Narottam Mishra and state BJP president Vishnu Dutta Sharma and other party leaders have started reminding the people of the promises made by Rahul Gandhi during his campaign in 2018 Assembly elections in the state. The BJP is also saying that the Bharat Jodo Yatra “has become more like a physical fitness test” as its lead campaigner, Rahul Gandhi, can be seen doing pushups and running.
While addressing gatherings, Shivraj Singh Chouhan attacks the yatra. On some occasions, he also reiterated the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, as the “divider’ pg India.
“On one side there is Narendra Modi who is working for the country and on the other side there is Rahul baba (Rahul Gandhi) who is doing Bharat Jodo Yatra. Rahul Gandhi, do tell us – who did the ‘todo’ (divided) of India? In 1947 with an urge to get power at the earliest, if someone divided the country it was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress, ” Chouhan had said last week.
On the other side, the Madhya Pradesh Congress unit led by former Chief Minister and the party’s state head Kamal Nath has swung into action to welcome the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ with 17 subordinates (sub-yatras) from different parts of the state. These sub-yatras will cover all the 230 Assembly seats of Madhya Pradesh and will welcome Rahul Gandhi in Burhanpur.
While the state Congress has prepared itself to utilise the occasion to kick off its campaign for the upcoming Assembly elections due at the end of 2023, veteran party leader and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh expressed his unwillingness to be featured in the publicity materials like billboards and posters of Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra in the state.
Digvijaya Singh, who is also one of the key members of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ has said that photos of former party Presidents Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi along with the Congress’ newly elected president Mallikarjun Kharge should be used instead.
Singh’s willingness to be left out from the publicity material being prepared by the state party unit gave ample opportunity to the BJP to take a dig at the Congress. However, the Congress leaders defended his willingness stating that he (Digvijaya) did it as a mark of respect for the top leadership of the Congress.
‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, which will enter Madhya Pradesh from Maharashtra’s border area between November 20-21, will cover around 382 km in next 16 days – passing through Khandwa, Khargone, Indore, Ujjain, and Agar-Malwa.
According to Congress MLA P.C. Sharma, who is in-charge of the Madhya Pradesh leg, the participants will cover a distance of nearly 25 km per day. Rahul Gandhi will also interact with the people gathered along the route. During the yatra in the state, Rahul Gandhi will also offer prayers at the famous Mahakaleshwar temple, which is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in the country.
Some prominent Congress leaders from Madhya Pradesh have already started participating in ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ even as over 15 days are left for its arrival in Madhya Pradesh. Several Congress leaders such as – Kamal Nath, Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha, former cabinet ministers – Sajjan Singh Verma, Jitu Patwari and some others have joined the paytra at least once. Digvijaya Singh, two-time Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh is associated with the yatra from the beginning as he is one of the key members of the pan-India yatra.
Dr. Govind Singh, a veteran Congress leader from the Gwalior-Chambal region and the leader of opposition in Madhya Pradesh Assembly also participated in the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Hyderabad two days ago during which he claimed to have apprised Rahul Gandhi about issues like the law and order situation, farmers’ issues and the atrocities against women and tribal people in Madhya Pradesh.
“Bharat Jodo Yatra will be very crucial for all of us. It will create an atmosphere against the poor governance system of the BJP and that is why all the BJP leaders are worried about this yatra. I met Rahul Gandhi and handed over a list of issues and requested him to raise all these issues when he reaches Madhya Pradesh, ” Govind Singh told IANS.