A day after meeting controversial Christian pastor George Ponnaiah, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi skipped the inauguration of a memorial for freedom fighters in Thiruvananthapuram. According to reports, memorials commemorating freedom fighters KE Mammen and P Gopinathan Nair have been raised on the premises of the NIMS Hospital on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram near Neyyatinkara.
Rahul Gandhi reportedly agreed to unveil the hospital’s memorial plaque. In the presence of KPCC president K Sudhakaran, their family members offered him the invitation. While prominent state Congress officials such as Sudhakaran, UDF convenor MM Hassan, and local MP Shashi Tharoor arrived at the NIIMS hospital, Rahul did not attend the inauguration despite the fact that the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ was passing through the vicinity.
Later, K Sudhakaran expressed regret for the blunder and assured the NIMS Managing Director that a different inauguration ceremony would be planned. Gandhi’s absence at the event was criticised by MP Shashi Tharoor, who said, “Such things affect the credibility”, as per a report by Deccan Herald. A video of Sudhakaran expressing his regret to the families of freedom fighters is currently going viral on the internet.
Rahul Gandhi, together with other political figures, Congress workers, and numerous ‘activists,’ launched the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ on September 7. It began in Kanyakumari and is projected to terminate in Kashmir after 150 days. The Yatra will travel 3,500 kilometres through 12 states.
Though the party is supposed to be attempting to avoid issues during the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra,’ it has generated news for all the wrong reasons from the start. The luxurious containers where the leaders spend their night, the inclusion of so-called activists like Yogendra Yadav and the inclusion of anti-Hindu voices like George Ponnaiah have raised several eyebrows.
On July 18 last year, the controversial pastor insulted Bharat Mata by claiming that She is dirty and can cause scabies. During his public address in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, he mocked BJP candidate MR Gandhi for not wearing footwear out of respect for Mother Earth (Bhumadevi/Bharat Mata). In a recent meeting with Rahul Gandhi, he was seen insulting Hindu deities and the Hindu faith.
The posters of the Yatra also have Robert Vadra’s face which points toward his imminent entry into politics. In a short span where the Yatra has not even completed a week, the party is definitely not keen on attracting any more controversies.