Chandigarh: Thousands of people, along with Rahul Gandhi, joined the Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Delhi today amid the health minister’s appeal to follow covid protocols. Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan also joined Rahul Gandhi in the yatra. Several senior party leaders, including Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Kumari Selja and Randeep Surjewala, were also seen joining the march.

Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi also joined Rahul in the ‘padyatra’. This is the second time Sonia Gandhi has joined the yatra. In October, he participated in the Congress’ mega walk march in Karnataka.

As the yatra entered the national capital from Faridabad this morning, Delhi Congress chief Anil Chaudhary welcomed Gandhi, other party leaders and passengers at the Badarpur border amid chants of “Rahul Zindabad”.

Addressing party workers and leaders, Rahul Gandhi reiterated that the purpose of his visit was to open a “spread love amidst a wave of hate” (Nafrat ke bazar me mohabbat ki dukan kholne ayaa hu). The common man of the country is now talking about love. Lakhs of people have joined the yatra in every state.

“I have told RSS and BJP people that we have come here to open a shop of love in your ‘market’ of hatred.”

He said the purpose of the visit is to showcase the “real Hindustan” where people help each other. “They (BJP, RSS) spread hatred, we (Congress) spread love,” Gandhi said.

Earlier, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had written to Rahul Gandhi asking him to ensure adherence to Covid protocols during the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’.

In his reply, Rahul Gandhi referred to PM Narendra Modi’s recent election campaign in Gujarat and the BJP’s “Jan Aakrosh Yatra” in Rajasthan. “The BJP is taking out yatras in different states, but the health minister is only sending us letters,” he said.

The Congress had alleged that the BJP wanted to stop Rahul Gandhi’s visit as it was scared of the love it received for the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Today’s yatra will conclude at the Red Fort in the evening. The mega march of the Congress, which completed 100 days on December 16, will take a nine-day break at the end of the year and resume from Delhi on January 3.

The Delhi Police has issued a traffic advisory, asking commuters to avoid certain routes and make “optimum use” of public transport. Traffic from Badarpur to Red Fort is likely to remain heavy, the advisory said.


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