Pahamsyiem (Meghalaya) Jan 22 (PTI) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged that the BJP and RSS were attacking the foundations of the country, while asserting the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra was undertaken to protect the idea of India.
The idea that people of all faiths should live harmoniously in India and that all communities, languages and traditions should be respected was under attack, Gandhi said at a public rally here after the Yatra entered Meghalaya from Assam.
''To protect the idea of India, we walked from the sea in Kanyakumari to the mountains of Kashmir (in 2022-23). We listened to the voices of farmers, labourers and young people'', he said.
After that Bharat Jodo Yatra, many people wanted ''us to listen to the voices of the people living in North-East, Odisha, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. So we decided to go ahead with another Yatra from Manipur to Maharashtra'', he said.
The former Congress president said that many people wondered why the Yatra began in Manipur and the reason is that the ideology of the RSS and BJP has destroyed the idea of Manipur.
''The politics of hatred and violence have torn the state apart, causing hundreds of deaths and thousands of people to lose their property. It's a complete tragedy! That's why we wanted to send a message to the rest of India about the pain the people of Manipur is feeling'', he said.
''It is astonishing to me that the Prime Minister of India has not visited Manipur yet. Is Manipur not an Indian state? Are the people of Manipur not part of India?'' he said.
If the PM wanted to stop the violence in Manipur, he could have done it in three days, Gandhi claimed.
''If he had told the Indian army that the violence in Manipur should be stopped, I am confident that the Indian army would have stopped it within days. The truth is, he is not interested in putting an end to the violence in Manipur. The government of India is happy to let Manipur burn and its people suffer'', he said, The Prime Minister has visited so many states but he refuses to go to Manipur, he added.
The Yatra went from Manipur to Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and has now come to Meghalaya.
“We respect your culture, language and traditions and we believe fundamentally that Meghalaya should be ruled from Meghalaya'', the Congress leader told the gathering.
“The voices of Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal are now being attacked. Your tradition, history and way of life are being attacked by the RSS'', he said.
The Union Home Minister Amit Shah himself had called the Meghalaya government the most corrupt in the country and shortly after making this statement, partnered with the ruling National People’s Party for the 2023 assembly elections, he said.
Gandhi said that the Khasi and Garo languages of Meghalaya are not included in the 8th schedule while the power of the autonomous councils has been snatched away and decentralisation of power is being reversed slowly.
''These are some of the issues we want to raise in the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra but the most important thing is that it is aimed at talking and listening to you. I am not here to tell my 'mann ki baat' but listen to your 'mann ki baat'', he said, with a veiled reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio programme.
Gandhi further said that he was their ''soldier in Delhi. Whatever you need from me in Delhi, I will always try and deliver to you." PTI DG JOP DG NN