Jammu: AICC incharge J&K Affairs and MP Rajni Patil Tuesday stated that three former Chief Ministers of J&K viz., Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah representing National Conference, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti would join Rahul Gandhi-led ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, scheduled to enter the UT from Lakhanpur on January 19.
She said that Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Rout, CPM leader Mohd Yousaf Tarigami, Muzaffar Shah from Awami National Conference besides several others would also walk with Rahul Gandhi during his ‘Yatra’ in J&K.
“Former Chief Minister and NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah, Sanjay Raut besides other leaders will join Yatra with Rahul Gandhi at Lakhanpur on January 19. Former minister Chowdhary Lal Singh is also likely to be there to welcome the Yatra. Another former Chief Minister and PDP supremo Mehboobaji too has confirmed to be part of the yatra. She has informed that her mother and daughter will also join. NC vice president Omar Abdullah, however, is supposed to join us after Yatra enters Kashmir,” she informed while addressing a press conference at party headquarter where around 60 leaders from DAP and other parties joined Congress today.
Those who joined Congress also included ex-MLC Nizam-ud-din Khatana (ex-MLC) and Gulzar Khatana ex-VC Gujjar and Bakerwal Board. They were brought into the party fold by former PCC president Peerzada Mohd Sayeed, former Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand and Thakur Balwan Singh who had recently joined the party in Delhi.
PCC president Vikar Rasool Wani, working president Raman Bhalla, AICC secretary incharge J&K Affairs Manoj Yadav, former Union Minister and AICC Observer for “Hath Se Hath” campaign Bhartsinh Solanki, JKPCC chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma were also present on the occasion.
Patil, while welcoming the leaders, said, “These leaders, whose leave from the party for a short time has already been sanctioned by the party will be given due respect and place in the party.”
Briefing the media persons about Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY) schedule, she said that Yatra would enter Lakhanpur on January 19 in the afternoon with a night halt there. “Next day Yatra will start from Hatli Morh to Chadwal (23 km) and stay there. There shall be a break on January 21 and it will resume on January 22 from Hiranagar up to Duggar Haveli Nanak Chack (21 km). It will start from Vijaypur up to Satwari on January 23 and will have a night halt at Sidhra. Further schedule of the Yatra shall be shared as and when it is cleared by the UT administration and security agencies,” she said.
Patil said that it was not a political yatra but a social yatra for the cause of “Nafarat Chodo Bharat Jodo” besides highlighting sufferings of people and youth from the unprecedented price hike, large scale unemployment and other such local issues like recent eviction order.
She said, “This shall be a historical yatra in Jammu and Kashmir too. It will culminate in Srinagar on January 30 with a grand rally at Sher-e-Kashmir stadium for which permission has been granted by the UT administration. Our president Mallikarjun Kharge has invited leaders of 31 political parties to be part of grand function.”
In response to the query she said that the route plan and everything was being shared with J&K administration and security agencies for their advice and perfect coordination as the party too was very concerned regarding the security and life of its leader Rahul Gandhi.
She sought the cooperation of the media for the Yatra and hoped that due coverage would be given in view of the importance of the yatra. She said, “Two press conferences of Rahul Gandhi have been proposed, one each in Jammu and Srinagar, so that the media persons are able to interact with the leader.”
She added that people of different walks, who were suffering because of the policies of the government, could approach the leader (Rahul) for highlighting their problems. President JKPCC Vikar Rasool Wani while welcoming the leaders said that Bharat Jodo Yatra would be historical in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said that all-important issues of the people of Jammu and Kashmir would be highlighted before Rahul Gandhi, including the recent eviction drive of the government affecting the poor and small farmers.
Congress leaders informed that the yatra, which will reach Jammu on January 23, will leave for Kashmir the next day i.e., January 24.
In a related development, JKPCC spokesperson Deepika Singh Rajawat resigned from the party in protest against the likely participation of Chowdhary Lal Singh in Bharat Jodo Yatra. In a tweet, she stated that she was left with no option but to resign in view of Chowdhary Lal Singh likely joining the Yatra. He was responsible for sabotaging Kathua minor’s rape and murder case in 2018 by defending rapists, she alleged.