The Maharashtra Congress on Sunday launched its 'Jan Samvad Yatra' in the state to reach out to people, galvanise its cadre and highlight the "misdeeds" of the Centre and the Eknath Shinde-led state government through issues like unemployment and inflation.
The party, however, temporarily suspended the yatra in all eight districts of Marathwada, comprising Aurangabad, Osmanabad, Jalna, Beed, Latur, Nanded, Hingoli and Parbhani, following tension in the region after police lathi-charge on Maratha quota agitators in Jalna district. Congress' Maharashtra chief Nana Patole launched the party's mass outreach programme from Wardha district in east Vidarbha. He paid floral tributes at the martryrs' memorial in Ashti taluka before the yatra.
Speaking on the occasion, he said, "Farmers, youth, women and traders are suffering due to the wrong policies of the governments at the state and the Centre. The state is reeling under drought-like conditions and Kharif crops have been damaged."
Patole described the state government as "illegal and unconstitutional".
Slamming the government for the lathi-charge on the protesters demanding reservation for the Maratha community in Jalna, he alleged that it was done to divert the attention from the INDIA alliance meet held in Mumbai on August 31 and September 1. Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra assembly Vijay Wadettiwar led the yatra in Nagpur.
As part of the exercise, the party workers visited different parts of the city and interacted with the local residents. Congress leader in the state legislative council Satej Patil was in Chandgad taluka of Kolhapur district for the yatra. Along with the party workers, he walked through the villages and held talks with people. In north Maharashtra, Congress' legislature party leader Balasaheb Thorat will launch the yatra from Ahmednagar city on Monday, party sources said.
As the party temporarily suspended the yatra in Marathwada, its senior leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan said in a post on X, "New dates will be announced soon."
Chavan, who was to lead the yatra in Marathwada, said it has been temporarily suspended due to the prevailing situation after the police lathi-charge.
On Friday, police baton-charged and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse a violent mob in Antarwali Sarathi on Dhule-Solapur road in Jalna after the protesters refused to let authorities shift a man on hunger strike to hospital during an agitation seeking reservation for the Maratha community. Around 40 policemen and several protesters were injured and many buses were set on fire during the violence that erupted there.
More than 350 people have been booked for alleged involvement in the untoward incidents. The Congress' state unit had last month announced its plans to hold the 'Jan Samvad Yatra' from September 3 to 12.