Srinagar: The Congress wants to take the Bharat Jodo Yatra, led by Rahul Gandhi, through the interiors of the Kashmir valley, but has left the decision on the route of the foot march to security agencies and the Jammu and Kashmir administration, party leader Chetan Chauhan has said here.
“We have carried out reconnaissance and submitted two routes — one through the national highway and another through the interiors of Kashmir. Now it is up to security officials and the administration whether they will allow us or not,” Chauhan told PTI as the yatra entered Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
He said the Congress has not released the yatra’s route plan in Kashmir due to security reasons.
“We have not released the route of this yatra in Kashmir (yet) because we have not received a clearance from the security officials so far,” he added.
Chauhan, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) coordinator, is here to review the arrangements for the yatra, which is likely to enter the valley on January 27.
“Some hoardings have been installed. As the yatra comes closer to Kashmir, more will be installed,” he said.
The Congress leader said the yatra, which began from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu in September, will culminate in Srinagar on January 30, after covering a distance of almost 3,500 kilometres.
“On January 30, a huge rally will be held at the cricket stadium in Srinagar for which all preparations have been made. It will be a historical event. People are enthusiastic (about it),” he added.
Chauhan said 12 to 15 political parties of Jammu and Kashmir, including the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), will join the yatra. “We are getting a huge response and support from the locals in the valley,” he said.
Chauhan said the aim of the Bharat Jodo Yatra is to counter the hate being spread in the country and raise the real issues being faced by people.
“Since the beginning of the yatra, the BJP has been trying to fool the country. This yatra is to create awareness about what the BJP has done to the country. Earlier, they did politics on (Gandhi’s) T-shirt, now they are saying it is the ‘Bharat Todo Yatra’. The BJP is not addressing the problems people are facing, such as unemployment and inflation. It is just trying to divert people’s attention from the real issues,” he added.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Jammu and Kashmir unit spokesperson Altaf Thakur took a dig at the Congress, saying the march taken out by the opposition party is a “Khandaan Jodo Yatra”.
“Family politics was wiped out in 2014 when the country decided to vote for the BJP. In Kashmir, the Muftis, the Abdullahs and the Congress were wiped out. This yatra is a Khandaan Jodo Yatra where the Gandhis are trying to unite the Abdullahs and the Muftis,” he said.
Thakur also said the Bharat Jodo Yatra is “merely a joke”.
“It was the Congress that divided the country in 1947. Who gave Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to Pakistan? It was the Congress. The Bharat Jodo mission was accomplished on August 5, 2019, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi made Jammu and Kashmir completely a part of India,” he added.
The provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution were abrogated on August 5, 2019 and the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into Union territories.