The 135-day Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY) came to an end on Monday with a flag-raising ceremony at the party headquarters and a gathering for the general public at the adjoining Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium. Senior local politicians, Dr. Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference (NC), and Mehbooba Mufti of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) joined the protest despite the ongoing snowfall. The gathering also featured remarks by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the general secretary of the Congress.
Rahul Gandhi said during his speech that he had been forewarned that he would be assaulted in Kashmir, but that instead of hand grenades, the people in this place gave him hearts full of love. He continued by saying that BJP members in Jammu and Kashmir could not move in this manner due to their fear. While commemorating the death of his father Rajiv Gandhi, he also spoke of the agony of losing a loved one and said he knew the suffering of those who lost family members in the Pulwama assault. To commemorate the event, he was dressed in a traditional Kashmiri pheran.
“I did not do the Yatra for myself or Congress, the aim is to stand against an ideology that wants to destroy the foundation of the country,” he asserted.Congress sources said over a dozen leaders from the opposition parties were scheduled to attend the rally, but couldn’t make it because of the closure of Jammu-Srinagar national highway and the disruption of air traffic.
21 parties in all were invited to the event. Among the parties who were unable to attend the event were the Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, and TDP. Rahul Gandhi hoisted the national flag on Sunday to mark the end of the “Padayatra,” but Monday marked the actual end of the event. The Kanyakumari to Kashmir yatra travelled 3,970 kilometres across 12 states and two union territories between September 7 at the southernmost point of the nation and January 30 in Srinagar. Throughout the yatra, Rahul Gandhi conducted 13 news conferences and over 100 corner meetings. He aimed to engage in over 275 walking exchanges and over 100 seated contacts.