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Five months, 4,000 km: Bharat Jodo Yatra to culminate in Srinagar today; rally planned

The rally will see the participation of many opposition parties

PTI01_28_2023_000131B Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra during the party's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', at Pampore in Pulwama District of South Kashmir | PTI

The Congress party will mark the culmination of the grand Bharat Jodo Yatra in Srinagar on Monday with a rally which will see the participation of many opposition leaders. 

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who led the walkathon, marked the completion of the final lap of the yatra on Sunday morning with his sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, party leaders and workers. He unfurled the national flag at the historic clock tower of Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar as part of the yatra and said a "promise" made to India has been fulfilled.

The function to mark the culmination will be held at the Jammu and Kashmir Congress headquarters in Srinagar. After the meeting, Rahul Gandhi will take out a rally at the Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium - where the Congress and other like-minded parties are expected to join in.

The Congress has invited 21 parties to Monday's rally in Srinagar, including non-NDA parties the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharat Rashtriya Samithi (formerly TRS). Parties that did not receive the invitation include AIADMK, YSRCP, BJD, AIMIM, and AIUDF.

However, it is not clear how many will participate and the response from these 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 on Sunday. 

He added that while there are differences amongst the opposition parties, they are together in the ideological fight against the BJP. 

Earlier on Sunday, Rahul had 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.

"I met lakhs of people and talked to them. I do not have words to make you understand. The aim of the yatra was to unite India, it was against the hate and violence being spread across the country. We have had a tremendous response. In fact, no one expected to get such a love-filled response," Gandhi said.

"We got to see the resilience of the people of India, their strength, directly," he asserted.

He added that the political class seemed to have lost its direct connection 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 shortly.

The yatra covered 4,080 km through 12 states and two Union territories. Rahul Gandhi addressed 12 public meetings, over 100 corner meetings, 13 press conferences. He had over 275 planned walking interactions and more than 100 sitting interactions.

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