'Hindu-Muslim hatred spread 24x7': Rahul Gandhi's jibe at BJP-led Centre
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government for allegedly fostering "Hindu-Muslim hatred" and misusing religious differences to "divert attention from real issues." His statements came after the party's Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY) reached Delhi's Red Fort. Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, as well as superstar Kamal Haasan, marched alongside Gandhi earlier in the day.
Why does this story matter?
- Bharat Jodo Yatra is a fresh political initiative by Congress to regain its footing in the country.
- However, it attracted criticism from some quarters, particularly the BJP, over various issues, including Gandhi skipping Parliament for BJY.
- The most recent criticism came from Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, who asked Gandhi to ensure COVID-19 regulations are observed during the Yatra or cancel it in "national interest."
Gandhi attacks BJP at Red Fort
Addressing a gathering at Red Fort, Gandhi claimed, "Hindu-Muslim hatred is being spread 24x7 (by BJP government) to divert attention from real issues." "I have walked 2,800km (during BJY) but did not see any hatred. When I turn on the TV, however, I see violence," he said. BJY reached Delhi on Saturday amid much fanfare and will resume next month after a nine-day break.
'Media never shows reality due to gag order'
"The media is a friend. But it never shows the reality of what we say because of a gag order from the backstage," Gandhi said, taking a dig at the BJP. "But this country is one, everyone wants to live in harmony," he added.
Country needs me so joined BJY: Kamal Haasan
Meanwhile, actor-turned-politician and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder, Haasan, said he joined the BJY as an Indian citizen for the country despite warnings that it would be a "costly political mistake." "I asked myself, this is the time the country needs me. Kamal, my inner voice said, 'Bharat todne ki nahi jodne ki madad karo (help unite the country, not break it),'" Haasan added.
BJY entered Delhi amid COVID-19 protocol row
Notably, the Yatra reached Delhi early on Saturday through the Badarpur border as several party officials walked with Gandhi. Gandhi told people at the border that the BJY's aim was to showcase the "real Hindustan" and not the BJP and RSS's "hatred-filled Hindustan." It entered the national capital days after the Union Health Ministry urged Gandhi to follow COVID-19 protocols throughout the Yatra.
A little more about Congress march
On September 7, the Yatra began in Kanyakumari and has so far passed through Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Delhi. On Saturday, it covered along 23km in Delhi, passing via Nizamuddin, India Gate, ITO, Delhi Gate, and Daryaganj. Yatris also visited Rajghat, Shantivan, Shakti Sthal, and Veer Bhoomi. The BJY will now resume on January 3.