Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led-Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra resumed its second leg of the Assam journey on Sunday after a night halt in Arunachal Pradesh. The Yatra re-entered Assam via Rajgarh in Biswanath district and is now heading to Nagaon in the state's centre region. Starting today, the march has begun its second phase and will go through the state till March 25, covering a distance of 833 km.
On January 22, Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to visit Assam's sacred pilgrimage site, Batadrava Than (Bordowa Satra), the birthplace of 15-16th century neo-Vaishnavite saint and scholar Srimanta Sankardeva, in counter to BJP-RSS for the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony. Rahul will be offering 'sarai' (offerings) at Batadrava Than.
In response to Rahul Gandhi's visit, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said that Gandhi should avoid visiting Srimanta Sankardeva's birthplace in Batadrava on January 22 as there is no competition between Lord Ram and the medieval age Vaishnav saint. Ahead of Gandhi's visit, Sarma, on Sunday, said that commandos will be deployed along sensitive routes of minority-dominated areas for Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra on January 22, the day of the Ram temple's consecration ceremony in Ayodhya.
"We will request Rahul Gandhi not to visit Batadrava on Monday during the Ram Temple consecration ceremony as it will reflect Assam in a wrong light. He can visit after the consecration ceremony without causing unnecessary competition that would be sad for Assam," said Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Srimanta Sankardeva is an Assamese saint-scholar, social-religious reformer, poet, playwright, and a towering figure in Assam's cultural and religious history from the 15th to the 16th centuries.
The Congress chose a route through 'sensitive areas' of Morigaon, Jagiroad, and Nellie for Monday that should have been avoided, according to CM. Sarma also said, "These places are sensitive, and I cannot rule out a law and order crisis. Thus, commandos would be posted along sensitive routes of minority-dominated areas to be visited by Rahul Gandhi's Yatra on January 22." For security reasons, district commissioners and superintendents of Police in certain regions have been asked to intensify patrolling and maintain a close vigil.
The Congress is part of a 15-party coalition in the state formed to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha elections together and has expressed support for the Yatra.