A cross-nation march led by Indian opposition chief Rahul Gandhi has reached the capital New Delhi after passing by way of eight states, hoping to regain A pair of of The recognition it misplaced to the ruling Hindu nationwideist celebration.
Tens of hundreds Of people have joined Gandhi’s “Unite India March” in the direction of “hate and division”, which goals To level out the Congress celebration’s fortunes round after its drubbing by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in two successive nationwide elections.
“Hindu-Muslim hatred is being unfold twenty-4-seven to divert your considperiodtion from exact factors,” Gandhi said in his speech On the Mughal-period Purple Fort Inside the Indian capital.
“They will unfold hate. We’ll unfold love,” he said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP.
People Take part Inside the Unite India march in New Delhi [Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]
Hindu nationwideism has surged beneath Modi and his celebration, which have been criticised over rising hate speech and violence in the direction of Muslims In current occasions. Opponents say Modi’s silence emboldens proper-wing teams and menaceens nationwide unity, however his celebration has denied this.
“There are considperiodtions Regarding the plight of minorities, the shrinking space for dissent, As properly as to The fedperiodl authorities’s dealing with of the pandemic and the financial system,” said Al Jazeperiod’s Pavni Mittal, reporting from New Delhi.
“Analysts say the Congress’s lack of ability to be An environment nice opposition and primarytain The fedperiodl authorities accountable has contrihowevered to the BJP’s unprecedented success,” she added.
The Nehru-Gandhi household has managed the Congress celebration For many years however has additionally overseen its current decline. The celebration presently governs simply three of India’s 28 states.
Rahul Gandhi resigned as Congress president after the final widespread election. The subsequent nationwide polls are due by 2024.
Suffering from a management disaster and collection of electoral routs, the Congress in October elected Mallikarjun Kharge, its first non-Gandhi president in 24 years, in an Try and shed the picture of being run by a single household.
Kharge on Saturday wrote on Twitter the march is “in the direction of the politics of inflation, unemployment, inequality, and hatred”.
“[This] nationwide mass movement has gathered the hopes of crores [hundreds of hundreds] Of people by reaching the throne of power,” he posted.
The march will take a 9-day break in New Delhi earlier than starting its final leg on January 3 in the direction of Srinagar, The primary metropolis in Indian-administered Kashmir Inside the north.
The three,570-km (2,218-mile) Unite India march started in September Inside the coastal metropolis of Kanyakumari on the southern tip of India.
Congress chief Jairam Ramesh informed journalists on Saturday the march – which is broadcast stay on An internet website – has accomplished almost 3,200km (1,988 miles) So far in 9 states.
Gandhi’s mom and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, his sister and celebration chief Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and her husband Robert Vadra joined Saturday’s march Inside the capital.
Sharing An picture of himself hugging his mom Through the rally, Gandhi tweeted: “The love I’ve acquired from her is what I am sharing with the nation.”
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan additionally joined the march on Saturday.
We stroll for an India the place Nobody stays in fear, And everyone finds A greater future. pic.twitter.com/ooLG8mA55C
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 24, 2022
Passing by way of lots of of villages and cities, the march has attracted farmers apprehensive about rising debt, college students complaining about growing unemployment, civil society members and propers activists who say India’s democratic well being is in decline.
In a quantity of impassioned speeches Through the march, Gandhi typically focused Modi and his authorities for doing Little or no To deal with the rising financial inequality in India, the rising spiritual polarisation, and the menace posed by China.
The armies of India and China are locked in a bitter standoff Inside the mountainous Ladakh area since 2020. Regardless of over a dozen rounds of talks at army, political and diplomatic ranges, the standoff has protracted.
In the meantime, Modi’s celebration has dismissed Gandhi’s march and speeches as a political gimmick to regain his “misplaced credibility”.
“The character of the Congress has been To interrupt India,” the celebration said in a tweet on Saturday.
Javed M Ansari, a journalist and political commentator, said the march has succeeded in reinvigorating the Congress Party.
“There is a sure momentum now – An important objective So far As a Outcome of the Congress staff are involved,” Ansari informed Al Jazeperiod.
The popularity of the march has “definitely modified Gandhi’s picture” for The greater, he said, including thOn the problem for his celebration now Shall be to translate The keenness Inside the streets into votes.