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On not attending Ram Temple consecration to INDIA bloc’s 2024 fight: All that Rahul Gandhi said | India News

3 min read

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Tuesday addressed his first press conference during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Nagaland’s Kohima. He covered a range of topics from why it was difficult for Congress leaders to attend the Ram Temple consecration on January 22 to his thoughts on Nitish Kumar and the INDIA bloc of Opposition parties.

On Ram Mandir consecration

“The RSS and BJP have made the January 22nd function a completely political Narendra Modi function. It’s become a RSS-BJP function and that’s why Congress president said he wont go to the function,” Rahul Gandhi said.

The Congress party had earlier declined an invite by the temple trust to attend the consecration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

Elaboration on the issue, Rahul said, “It’s difficult for us to go to a political function which is designed around the Prime Minister and the RSS. The BJP-RSS have given it an election flavour. We are with all religions. Whoever wants to go, even from Congress, can go. It’s difficult for us to go as the prime minister, who is our principal opponents have captured a function and made it into an election function.”

When asked where he will be on January 22, Rahul asserted that he will be on the yatra trail. “Somewhere in Assam, according to the schedule.”

Festive offer

On Nitish Kumar and INDIA alliance

When asked about the status of the INDIA alliance and seat-sharing talks TMC, Rahul said, “The status of the INDIA alliance is very good. We are in conversation with our partners, the issue of seat sharing is being taken up and are ongoing and they are going quite well. Broadly, a lot of those are simple discussions… so I am quite confident that they will be resolved.”

When asked about Nitish Kumar refusing the convenor’s post, and if there are concerns that he will leave the alliance, Rahul said, “I think the media overplays certain things. You don’t tell the mood of the meeting — the humour, the camaraderie. There is mutual respect and affection between leaders of INDIA formation. It’s an ideological formation that is placing itself in opposition to the idea of RSS and BJP. I am confident we can resolve these small issues.”

On Nagaland peace accord

“The Prime Minister promises things without thinking them through. He has made promises to youth of India, about education, employment… but nothing has happened in nine years,” Rahul said.

“I have been speaking to quite a few Naga leaders…they are absolutely perplexed about what the progress has been made. Frankly, we are not even clear about the PM envisioned in terms of a solution. It’s a superficial document that says we are going to work towards peace, and joint sovereignty, but it’s not clear what exactly they mean. Clearly there is a problem that needs resolution,” he added.

Nagaland has been facing a long standing issues, with the people of the state demanding a separate constitution and flag. Since 1997, the Centre has been engaged in talks with the Naga insurgent groups in a bid to sign a Naga peace accord.

On the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra

“The objective of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra is social and economic justice, to raise issues. We started the yatra in Manipur, because there has been gross injustice in Manipur. For the first time an Indian state has witnessed violence for months and the PM and the BJP people have not even visited. Now, we are in Nagaland, where commitments were made to the people by the PM, but not fulfilled,” Rahul said.

“The yatra is an ideological yatra to place several issues of injustice on the table. There will be an election campaign… but the yatra is to place certain ideas on the table… an alternative vision to what the BJP says,” he added.

Speaking about the ‘hybrid’ nature of the yatra, as the Congress leader is traveling in a Volvo bus, and walking certain stretches, Rahul said, “I wanted it to be walking yatra, but there wasn’t enough time… When we are in Assam, Bengal and other states, the walking element will increase. But time is an issue, we don’t have 150 days (like the previous Bharat Jodo Yatra), so we have to keep it tight.”

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