Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday rejected the claims that the opposition is divided, saying anti-BJP forces will have to come together in what is an ideological fight against the BJP.
Gandhi's comments, made in his press conference on the day the Kanyakumari to Kashmir Bharat Jodo Yatra reached its culmination, came amidst keen interest over how many opposition parties will turn up for a rally planned by the Congress in Srinagar on Monday to mark the completion of the walkathon.
While Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has sent out invitations to leaders of 21 'like-minded' parties to attend the event, the response from the parties has been far below Congress' expectations and many could stay away.
"Opposition unity will come after talks and conversations within the opposition space. It is not correct to say that the opposition is scattered," Gandhi said.
He further said that while there are definitely differences amongst the opposition parties, they are together in the ideological fight against the BJP.
The 135-day yatra that covered over 3,800 kilometres came to an end with Gandhi hoisting the national flag at the historic Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Sunday. Gandhi has held 13 press conferences, including the one he addressed in Srinagar today, during the course of the yatra.
He described the yatra as the deepest, most beautiful experience of his life. He also said that the yatra has had a powerful impact on politics in the country and has provided an alternative vision and a way of life that is in contrast to the “oppressiveness” of the BJP.
Gandhi said the political class seemed to have lost its direct connect with the people, and the yatra sought to reduce that distance.
He claimed the yatra was the first step in a series of actions the Congress party would take up in the near future.
Gandhi was in the press conference repeatedly asked about his stand on revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, and his response was that statehood and restoration of democratic rights of the people were the most important requirements. He also said that an appropriate solution should be found for Ladakh.
Asked to respond to BJP leaders saying that the fact that he has been able to unfurl the national flag in Srinagar shows there is peace in the union territory, Gandhi said, "Targeted killings and bomb blasts are taking place. If the security situation has improved, why does the BJP not hold a yatra from Jammu to Lal Chowk? If the situation is so good, why does (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah not walk from Jammu to Kashmir?"
Gandhi, whose ancestors belong to Kashmir, described his journey to the topmost part in the yatra route as a sort of homecoming.