Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 30 (PTI) Veteran Congress leader A K Antony on Monday said Rahul Gandhi undertook the Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY) to protect the country from the politics of hatred and anger being allegedly fostered by the Narendra Modi government.
Antony, speaking at a programme organised by the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee here to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 75th death anniversary, said "the Modi administration is trying to maintain power by fostering the politics of hatred and anger." Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, undertook the yatra to protect unity, diversity and integrity of the nation and spread the message of love and harmony to everyone irrespective of their religion, caste, creed or colour, Antony, also the former Chief Minister of Kerala, said.
He said that with the conclusion of the yatra the nation not only got to see a new Rahul Gandhi, but it was also the beginning of the second phase to sweep the communal forces from power in a democratic manner.
"As the Bharat Jodo Yatra comes to an end, India is getting to see a new Rahul Gandhi. A new Rahul Gandhi who will take care of the country and lead the fight against the forces spreading anger and hatred.
"It is time to begin the second phase. By that I mean, it is time to weaken and defeat the forces trying to divide the country through hatred and anger," the former Defence minister said.
When the second phase is completed successfully, "our goal would be fully accomplished", he said.
Antony also suggested keeping close those who have drifted away from the Congress at various stages and expressed hope that those who stayed away from the yatra would join the party's efforts in the future.
Former Leader of Opposition in the Kerala assembly and senior Congressman Ramesh Chennithala, who also spoke on the occasion, lashed out at the Kerala unit of CPI(M) for abstaining from the yatra.
He said that if the Left party was sincere about fighting fascism in the country, it ought to have taken part in the yatra.
Chennithala also contended that the CPI(M) national leadership, which was supported by Congress in Tripura and West Bengal, could not participate in the yatra due to the stand of the Left party's Kerala unit.
The Congress organised a rally in Jammu and Kashmir's Srinagar on Monday with several leaders from national and regional parties in attendance to mark the culmination of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The rally was held at a stadium amid tight security and heavy snowfall.
Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, was shot dead by Nathuram Godse on this day in 1948. January 30 is observed every year as Martyrs' Day. PTI HMP SS HMP KH KH