New Delhi: On Saturday, Congress Presidential candidate and MP Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is “scared” of Rahul Gandhi’s “rising popularity” as a result of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. “Many people are identifying with Rahul Gandhi. After witnessing the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the BJP is terrified. “As Rahul Gandhi’s popularity grows, these people’s (popularity) declines,” Kharge said. Earlier today, Kharge stated that he is fighting the Congress Presidential polls because the country’s situation is “bad” and that he wants to “fight” them. “I want to fight because the country’s situation is dire.” Modi and Shah are playing politics in places where democracy has no place. Agencies such as the CBI and ED are deteriorating. I need strength to fight them. That is why, on the advice of delegations, I am contesting the election,” Kharge said. Shashi Tharoor and Mallikarjun Kharge are competing for the position of Congress President.
Digvijaya Singh dropped out of the race earlier and endorsed Kharge, whom he described as a “senior and respected leader of the party” against whom he “cannot think of contesting.” Singh was the second Congress leader to withdraw from the race, following Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s announcement that he would not run in the elections due to political turmoil in his state.
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With the Gandhis opting out of the presidential race, the grand old party is set to elect a non-Gandhi president for the first time in over 25 years. The deadline for withdrawing nominations is October 8. The election will be held on October 17, and the results will be announced on October 19. The Wayanad MP is currently leading the Bharat Jodo Yatra, a 3,500-kilometer march from Kanyakumari to Kashmir that crosses 12 states. The Yatra began in Kanyakumari and will end in Kashmir the following year, covering 25 kilometres per day.
According to the Congress, the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is being held to combat the BJP-led Centre’s divisive politics and to educate the people of India about the dangers of economic inequalities, social polarisation, and political centralisation. Notably, all of the party’s MPs, leaders, and workers, as well as Rahul Gandhi, are housed in containers. Some of the containers also have sleeping beds, toilets, and air conditioners.
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The arrangements were made with the intense heat and humidity of the change of location in mind. The Congress suffered a humiliation in earlier this year’s assembly elections, and the Yatra is seen as an attempt to rally the party’s rank and file for the upcoming electoral battles.
(With agencies’ inputs)