Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has claimed the Bharatiya Janta Party’s actions are the root cause of distress among farmers, youth and tribal people in Maharashtra.
In a statement dated November 20, which was released on Monday, Gandhi said during his Bharat Jodo Yatra’s Maharashtra leg, voices of farmers were heard whose long-standing distress has worsened in recent years due to the rising costs, uncertain prices and the failure of insurance schemes to support the cultivators in bad years.
Voices of the state’s youth, who are worried about finding work which meets their dreams, despite hard work and sacrifice, and the adivasis, were heard, the Congress leader said.
“The root cause of this distress is the BJP government’s actions, which concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few. It is worsened by their agenda of dividing Indians against each other using culture, religion, caste and language,” Gandhi alleged.
Standing against this agenda is Maharashtra’s rich progressive tradition. It remains vibrant, with several dedicated civil society organisations and forward-thinking artists from the literary, cultural and film spheres, he said.
Gandhi said the Bharat Jodo Yatra entered Maharashtra paying tribute to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and was leaving the state from Buldhana district, where the Maratha king’s mother Rajmata Jijabai was born.
The Congress leader said it was their privilege to take inspiration from them as well as great social reformers and spiritual leaders of Maharashtra – Shahuji Maharaj, Jotiba and Savitriba Phule, Ahilyabai Holkar, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Shirdi Saibaba, Gajanan Maharaj and many others.
“For centuries, these great men and women have spread the message of equality, fraternity and social justice,” he said.
Gandhi said during the Maharashtra leg of the yatra, he also visited historical temples and gurdwaras, and walked with warkaris, bhikhus and sufis.
The Maharashtra leg of the yatra began on November 7 from Nanded and also passed through Hingoli, Washim, Akola and Buldhana districts, covering more than 380 km in the state.
The foot march, which reached the Madhya Pradesh border on Sunday evening, has taken a halt at Nimkhed for two days before it enters Burhanpur in the neighbouring state.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra, a mass contact initiative of the Congress, had started on September 7 from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.