Rahul, others get just basic facilities at Bharat Jodo Yatra camps: Congress
Rahul Gandhi, other Bharat Yatris staying in containers which have very "basic and minimal" facilities, similar to second AC compartments, says Congress
The Congress on Friday said its Bharat Yatris were staying in containers which have very “basic and minimal” facilities, and claimed that the BJP was trying to “defame” its Bharat Jodo Yatra, as it was rattled by it.
The Opposition party alleged that the BJP IT cell was spreading falsehoods about the facilities at its Yatra campsites and in containers. Party general secretary Jairam Ramesh also took a dig at the BJP, saying this is not like the 1990 “Rath Yatra, a Toyota Yatra or an Innova Yatra; ours is a Padyatra”.
The attack by the Opposition party came after it gave access to the media to its campsite in Nagercoil where the 60 containers were parked.
Nights in containers
About 230 people, including 119 Bharat Yatris who will walk the full 3,570 km from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, will spend their nights in 60 containers mounted on trucks that will be moved daily from one place to another.
Rahul is staying in a one-bed container that has a small sofa, an air conditioner, a small refrigerator and an attached toilet.
A pictorial representation of one of Mahatma Gandhi’s marches with his quote, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”, is also put up in the former Congress chief’s container.
Leaders such as Congress general secretaries KC Venugopal, Jairam Ramesh and Digvijaya Singh are staying in two-bed containers.
There are also four-bed, six-bed, eight-bed and 12-bed containers. While some have attached toilets, others do not. Mobile toilets and showers, mounted on trucks, are also parked at the campsites. The site visited by the media was Scott Christian College, Nagercoil, where the Yatris spent Thursday night.
Ramesh said his container has two bunks and is like a second AC train compartment. “There is an area for having meals at the campsite and a conference room container which can accommodate 10 people,” he added.
Hitting out at the BJP, Ramesh said they only have “propaganda” to peddle. “The allegations that have been made by the BJP IT cell with the encouragement of the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) to defame the Bharat Jodo Yatra show that the BJP is rattled,” Ramesh said.
The BJP is making these allegations in its nervousness, he claimed.
“They should come and see what the reality is. We are not hiding anything, there is complete transparency. Look at the way we are staying, it would take about 160 days (to complete the Yatra),” he said. This is “very basic” and “very minimal”, he added.
“I wish both Amit Shah and Amit Malviya see these containers and then they will know what it is to live in a container. This is not like the Rath Yatra. It is not a Toyota Yatra or an Innova Yatra. Ours is a Padyatra,” Ramesh said. The containers are not Made in China, he added.
“By 8 AM these containers move to the next locations. We need two acres to accommodate these containers. We end up setting up camps in schools and colleges,” he said.
He said the camp sites are mostly for the 119 Bharat Yatris, support staff and people managing the camps.
Ramesh said the food for the Yatris is being managed by the party’s state units.
Yatra from Nagercoil
On the second day of the actual Padyatra, which was launched at a rally on Wednesday, Rahul, along with other Bharat Yatris and party leaders began walking from the Nagercoil school after a flag hoisting ceremony which the party has said would be a daily routine.
“Day 2 of the padayatra started with flag hoisting at 7 am in Nagercoil. Bharat Yatris were joined by 89-year-old freedom fighter Kodikal Sheikh Abdullah. He inspired everyone by highlighting the need to stand up, unite and fight for the soul of our nation,” Ramesh said in a tweet.
Rahul Gandhi, along with several of his party colleagues, embarked on the 3,570-km “Bharat Jodo Yatra” on Thursday.
With agency inputs