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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Bharat Jodo Yatra: Congress to reach out to like-minded civil society groups

For instance, the DMK in Tamil Nadu from where the yatra will begin, and NCP or the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra which it will traverse.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 20, 2022 2:36:41 am
Sources said the party will set up a small group of leaders to coordinate and give a final shape to the Kanyakumari to Kashmir yatra.

DAYS AFTER the Congress announced that it would undertake a Bharat Jodo Yatra from October 2 this year, the party on Thursday signaled that it will reach out to like-minded political forces and civil society groups to make the yatra broad based, pegging it on issues such as attacks on Constitution, assault on secularism and sale of profit-making PSUs.

The party is yet to discuss whether it should reach out to like-minded parties as well. For instance, the DMK in Tamil Nadu from where the yatra will begin, and NCP or the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra which it will traverse.

Sources said the party will set up a small group of leaders to coordinate and give a final shape to the Kanyakumari to Kashmir yatra, the first such political exercise by the grand old party in decades.

A senior Congress leader said the party will talk to “like-minded political forces, institutions and individuals” to broad base the yatra. The political forces, he said, can be “quasi parties, fronts and groups”. Asked about other opposition parties, the leader said, “The party is yet to discuss whether it should talk to like-minded parties.”

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Some of the opposition parties, including allies RJD, JMM and Shiv Sena, were upset with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s recent statement that his party alone can fight the BJP as regional parties neither have an ideology nor a centralised approach. Sources in the Congress, however, sought to play down the controversy, saying such “reactions were expected”.

“We will cooperate with regional parties wherever necessary… where we are weak. But that does not mean we will take VRS even in these states,” one leader said.

At the Udaipur Chintan Shivir, the party had decided that it would “establish extensive contact and dialogue with all social, cultural, non-governmental organisations, trade unions, think tanks and civil society groups” to take on the BJP. “In order to protect this spirit of nationalism and democracy, the Congress is determined to establish dialogue and contact with all like-minded parties and will keep the avenues open for forming pragmatic alliances according to the political situation, while ensuring the organisation’s strength, capability, and presence in all blocks and districts of the country,” the resolution had said.

The yatra, to be led by Rahul, is expected to go on for four to five months as the aim is to traverse 3,500-odd kilometres across a dozen-odd states.

“When the UPA government was in power… we had an institutional mechanism to engage with the NGOs in the form of the National Advisory Council. Many of the right-based legislation emanated from the NAC. We will try to connect with the civil society groups again,” a leader said.

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