Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut on Friday joined the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra in Kathua district for the Jammu & Kashmir leg of the yatra.
Talking to the reporters, Raut said, "Bharat Jodo Yatra coming to Kashmir is a huge thing, in fact, the yatra should have started from here only to unite the nation. This is the only reason I came from Shiv Sena's side because we want the nation to unite."
"I am not talking about political things but the scenarios and atmosphere of the country are changing currently and among all this, I look up to Rahul Gandhi as a leader who can raise his voice against all odds in the nation, he added.
When asked about one of the Congress' remarks of not hoisting the flag at Lal Chowk but instead hoisting it at the party office because the chowk is part of the RSS' ideology, Raut answered that he will not comment on anyone's ideology because it's their choice.
Further on being asked if people are getting connected to the yatra, Raut said, "Of course, people across the nation are getting connected to the yatra, they are coming out in support of Rahul and happily joining the yatra. Crowds are gathering in his support and people are joining." Earlier taking to his social media handle, Raut shared the complete schedule of his J-K tour in which he is scheduled to meet Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) Sikh delegation on Friday evening.
Bharat Jodo enters Jammu & Kashmir
On Thursday evening, the foot march entered Jammu at Kathua's Lakhanpur area.
Supporters were seen carrying party flags and torch lights as the Yatra marched ahead later in the evening.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed his happiness on reaching Jammu & Kashmir for the final leg of his Bharat Jodo Yatra.
"It is a great pleasure to reach Jammu and Kashmir as I return to my home, where my ancestors had their roots. I am learning about and understanding more of me, every state, my country," the Congress leader said in a tweet in Hindi.
Former J-K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti, National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut, and CPI(M) leader Mohamad Yousuf will also participate in the yatra at the different locations, Congress leaders said.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that a few politicians should not use Bharat Jodo Yatra to whitewash their past on Kathua rape accused Lal Singh joining the Yatra.
"The INC has to ensure that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is not being used to whitewash their past," said Abdullah.
In view of the Bharat Jodo Yatra entering Jammu, the Jammu & Kashmir police authorities have also announced to ensure all the possible security arrangements. The Yatra is to conclude in Srinagar on January 30.
In another similar development, Jammu & Kashmir Congress spokesperson Deepika Pushkar Nath has resigned from the party after its state unit "allowed" former BJP leader and minister Choudhary Lal Singh to join Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra.
To the resignation of one Congress leader from the party during the crucial phase of Bharat Jodo Yatra, Union minister Jitendra Singh in Kathua said that the Congress defected from the places wherever the Bharat Jodo Yatra passed from.
"'Congress Todo' occurred from wherever the Bharat Jodo Yatra has passed from," Jitendra Singh had said
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