Cong’s ability to lead Oppn to be tested on Jan 30 in Srinagar

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge’s invitation to his counterparts of 23 political parties to attend concluding day of the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Srinagar on January 30 is a bid to show that the opposition is united to take on the BJP.

With the exercise, the Congress also wants to take stock of the ground situation as to which political parties could join it ahead of the 2024 general elections and 2023 assembly elections in which nine states and two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir are going to polls.

Though the grand-old party has been insisting that the Yatra is non political, analyst say that the January 30 programme has political overtones and two objectives — to portray the Congress as sole challenger to the BJP and test the waters of opposition unity.

The Congress will also get to know that the regional parties, which have been raking up issues of secularism inflation and unemployment issues, will join it or not.

A Congress leader said that huge response to the Yatra is a proof that India’s polity is bipolar and either you are with BJP or Congress, nobody can be fence sitter and their is no space for “third force” which is being attempted by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao through his BRS, the newly founded national party.

“I now invite you personally to join the concluding function of the Yatra on January 30,” Kharge wrote in a letter sent to the Presidents of the political parties.

Though none of the invitee has given confirmation, sources said the invites have been extended to Trinamool Congress, the Janata Dal(U), the Shiv Sena-UBT, the Telugu Desam Party, the National Conference (both Farooq and Omar Abdullah were invited), the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the DMK, the CPI, the CPI-M, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the RJD (both Lalu Prasad and Tejashwi Yadav), the RLD, the Hindustani Awam Morcha, the People’s Democratic Party, the Nationalist Congress Party, the MDMK, the VCK, the IUML, the KSM and the RSP.

The Congress is in alliance with the DMK in Tamil Nadu government. DMK leader M. K. Stalin was present in Kanyakumari at the beginning of the Yatra. The grand -old party is a MVA constituent in Maharashtra with NCP and Shiv Sena. President of both the parties, NCP and Shiv Sena — Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray had joined the yatra.

In Bihar, JD(U), RJD, HAM are part of the government led by Nitish Kumar so it’s anticipated that these leaders will participate along with National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti and the UDF partners in Kerala likely to attend.

The big question is whether the Trinamool Congress, which has been critical to the grand-old party, will join it or not.

Though Trinamool Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha’s praise for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for the Yatra has given a boost to the grand-old party, the TMC has dismissed it as his personal observation.

According to Trinamool Congress’s Rajya Sabha member Santanu Sen, Sinha’s comments were just his personal observations and have nothing to do with the party’s view in any case.

“I have nothing to say about a political programme of Congress. But all I can say is that one who is trying to connect India through the Bharat Jodo Yatra should first attempt to keep his own party united. The way the oldest political party of the country is now broken by groups by factionalism, Rahul Gandhi should seriously look into the matter,” Sen said.

Kharge in his letter has given a clarion call to the opposition, saying: “India faces an economic, social and political crisis. At this time, when the Opposition’s voice is being suppressed in the Parliament and the media, the Yatra is connecting directly with lakhs of people. We have discussed the grave issues affecting our nation inflation, unemployment, social divisions, weakening of democratic institutions and the threat on our borders.”

He said all sections of society have also participated and shared their problems youth, women and elderly; farmers, labourers, small businessmen and industrialists; Dalits, Adivasis, and linguistic and religious minorities; activists, artists and spiritual leaders.

“At this event, we will commit ourselves to fighting hatred and violence, to spread the message of truth, compassion and non-violence, and to defend the Constitutional values of liberty, equality, fraternity and justice for all. At this time of crisis for our country, where public attention is systematically diverted from people’s issues, the Yatra has emerged as a powerful voice. I hope you will participate and further strengthen its message.” he said.

20230115-115202

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