At the ambitious launch of its 3,500km Bharat Jodo Yatra on Wednesday, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (Sangh) for dividing India on the lines of religion and language.
“This country cannot be divided. This country will always remain united,” the Gandhi scion said at a public meeting in Kanyakumari, from where the Yatra started.
Alleging that the Indian tricolour is under threat, Gandhi urged people to defend the ideas and values behind the flag. He also said that every single institution in the country is under attack and alleged that the BJP considers the tricolour its personal property.
“Some people, they look at the flag and they see three colours, a chakra, a piece of cloth and they salute the flag. But this is not just three colours, a chakra and a piece of cloth,” he said at a public meeting in Kanyakumari, from where the Yatra started.
“This is much more than that and this flag. This did not come easily. It was not given to us, it was not a gift, it was earned by the Indian people. This flag represents every single person who lives in this country,” he added.
Asserting that the tricolour belongs to every religion, every community, and every language, Gandhi said, “Embedded in this flag is our identity, not only our identity as a nation, not only our identity as states, but our identity as every single Indian person. This flag guarantees every single Indian person protection in this country.”
“It guarantees every single person a free and fair life in this country. It guarantees everybody the right to practise any religion, speak any language they desire, and today, brothers and sisters, this flag is under attack. India is not the imposition of one idea on its people. India is the history, the language and the culture of every single person,” Gandhi added.
Gandhi also alleged that the government is misusing the central agencies that threatened the future of the country. “They think they can determine single-handedly, the future of the people of this country, the future of all the states of this country. They think they can frighten the opposition using ED, CBI and Income Tax,” Gandhi said as he continued his scathing attack against the central government.
“The problem is that they do not understand the Indian people. Indian people do not get scared. It does not matter how many hours of interrogation they do, does not matter. Not a single opposition leader is going to be scared of the BJP,” he added.
Gandhi also said that India is facing its worst-ever economic crisis along with the highest unemployment rate ever. “Today India faces its worst ever economic crisis. This is the highest level of unemployment that we have ever seen, and the country is heading into a disaster,” he said.
He also alleged that the central government has systematically attacked the farmers, the labourers, and the small and medium businesses of this country. Gandhi also said that a handful of large business houses control the entire country today.
Meanwhile, interim party president Sonia Gandhi, who is abroad for medical treatment, in her statement said, “This is a landmark occasion for our great party with such a glorious legacy. I am confident that our organisation will be rejuvenated. It is also a transformational moment in Indian politics.”
Before the launch of the Yatra, Rahul Gandhi attended a prayer meeting in Sriperumbudur, where his father and former Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991.