New Delhi: The Congress has invited 21 like-minded parties to participate in the concluding programme of its “Bharat Jodo Yatra” in Srinagar on January 30 to “strengthen” its message of “harmony and equality”. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has sent out the invite to presidents of the parties this evening.
The list of invited parties includes the Trinamool Congress, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United, Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party, CPM, Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party.
The big omission is Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party. The Congress accused AAP of launching a veiled attack on the march with its appeal to the Centre to enforce Covid protocols following the surge of the pandemic in China.
“At this event, we commit ourselves to fighting hatred and violence, to spread the message of truth, compassion and non-violence and to defend the constitutional values of liberty, equality, fraternity and justice for all,” Mr Kharge’s letter read.
Senior party leader and its communication chief Jairam Ramesh tweeted Mr Kharge’s letter.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra, being led by Rahul Gandhi, has seen the participation of various like-minded parties and key figures from the civil society and showbiz in its 3750-km route through the states.
It has, however, been cold-shouldered by many opposition parties — their absence underscoring the many-layered divisions in the camp a year ahead of the national elections.
In Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Delhi Chief Minister’s Aam Aadmi Party stayed away. So did the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi as the foot-march passed through Telangana.
The yatra is currently in Punjab, where it entered yesterday after Mr Gandhi paid his respects to the Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib.
In Jammu and Kashmir, leaders of the National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party and the local unit of ally Shiv Sena will join the march. MY Tarigami of CPI, another member of the Gupkaar Alliance, will also attend.