Congress’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ to enter Maharashtra, Rahul Gandhi to address two rallies in state

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Mumbai: The Congress’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ will enter Maharashtra on Monday night and senior party leader Rahul Gandhi will address two rallies in the state on 10 November and 18 November, a senior party leader said.

The yatra, a mass outreach initiative which began on 7 September from Kanyakumari, is scheduled to enter its 61st day on Monday and reach Deglur in Maharashtra’s Nanded district from neighbouring Telangana.

Rahul Gandhi will address two rallies during the yatra in Maharashtra. The first rally will be held on 10 November in Nanded district, while the second one will be held on 18 November at Shegaon in Buldhana district, as per the schedule shared by the Congress.

The yatra will traverse through 15 Assembly and 6 parliamentary constituencies in the state during its 14-day sojourn.

It will cover a distance of 382 kms across five districts before entering Madhya Pradesh on 20 November.

The party’s state unit has planned to hold a welcome ceremony for the yatra participants at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue at Kalamandir in Deglur, it said.

After the welcome ceremony, the yatra will resume on Monday night in which the participants will carry ‘Ekta Mashals’ (Unity Torches).

The yatra will proceed through Nanded district for four days and enter Hingoli district on 11 November, Washim on 15 November, Akola on 16 November and Buldhana on 18 November, party sources said.

Senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat, who recently visited Nanded to oversee the preparations for the yatra, said elaborate arrangements have been made in the state for it.

Addressing a press conference in Nanded on Sunday, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole said the yatra’s aim was to protect the Constitution and democratic values.

“In the last eight years, the country has seen corruption, fear and hunger,” he alleged, and demanded a face-to-face debate between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi on the issues plaguing the country.

“Ours is not a political yatra. It is aimed at highlighting the issues plaguing the country. Many prominent personalities we contacted said they support the yatra, but would not come in the open,” he said.

More than 100 prominent personalities from different walks of life will participate in the yatra, another Congress leader earlier said.

The Congress has invited Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar and former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to take part in the foot-march.

Pawar had earlier said he would join the yatra.

The state Congress leadership plans to highlight the participation of the NCP and the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction in the yatra as a show of solidarity of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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