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Bharat Jodo Yatra: Rahul Gandhi will not unfurl the Tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar because it is part of the RSS agenda, says Congress party

“We do not believe in the agenda of the RSS to hoist the Tricolour at Lal Chowk,” said AICC in-charge of Jammu & Kashmir and party MP Rajni Patil

While the Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is slated to enter Jammu and Kashmir on January 19, AICC in-charge of Jammu & Kashmir and party MP Rajni Patil said on Tuesday that Gandhi will not hoist India’s national flag at Lal Chowk. She said that the party believes that the unfurling Tricolor at the Lal Chowk in Kashmir is part of ‘the RSS agenda’. Instead, Gandhi will hoist the national flag at party headquarters in Srinagar on January 30, Patil said.

“We do not believe in the agenda of the RSS to hoist the Tricolour at Lal Chowk, where it has already flown high,” Patil said when pressed about Rahul Gandhi’s plan to unfurl the national flag at the end of the Bharat Jodo Yatra on January 30. According to the reports, the final gathering to celebrate the conclusion of the Yatra will be held at Srinagar’s Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC).

Patil was addressing the media after about 60 members of Ghulam Nabi Azad’s Democratic Azad Party (DAP), many of whom were founding members of the DAP, rejoined the Congress on Tuesday. Nizam-ud-Din Khatana, a two-time former MLC, and Gulzar Khatana, former vice-chairman of the Gujjar and Bakerwal Advisory Board, are among those who have quit DAP.

Providing more information about the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which will arrive in Jammu on January 19, Patil said the march will rest for the night. Former chief minister Farooq Abdullah and ex-minister Choudhary Lal Singh have indicated that they will participate in the Yatra in Lakhanpur next week. According to Patil, Omar Abdullah is also likely to join the Yatra in Kashmir, while CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, Awami National Conference leader Muzaffar Shah, and Shiv Sena leaders would take part at different locations.

Patil stated that ex-CM Mehbooba Mufti has expressed her desire to join the Yatra with her mother and daughter, but it is unclear where the three would meet. According to a statement issued by Uddhav Thackeray Sena, MP Sanjay Raut, who is visiting Jammu for three days, would also be one of the participants. Reports mention that the Congress has written to 21 political parties inviting them to attend the Yatra at its conclusion in Srinagar.

Patil stated that important leaders from India and outside will attend the SKICC ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Yatra. Reacting to Patil’s comments about flag-hoisting at Lal Chowk being the RSS’s agenda, the BJP responded by saying that if given an option, the party would like to see the Tricolor unfurled at Lal Chowk on January 26 every year.

“Making Lal Chowk, which had been the nerve centre of separatism, the nerve centre of nationalism will be the answer to all separatist activities there. Unfurling the Tricolour there is not RSS agenda, but it is India vs separatist forces in Kashmir, and Lal Chowk being the nerve centre of Kashmir politics, only nationalist forces shall be there,” said BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi.

Alleging that the Congress together with National Conference has utilized Lal Chowk as a symbol of specific ideology since 1947, he added that “even if it wants to unfurl the Tricolour there, it will make uneasy both the National Conference and PDP who are supporting the Rahul Gandhi yatra”.

When asked about the significance of Lal Chowk, he was quoted as saying that it was the nerve center of Kashmir politics and a center of separatist activity where anti-India and pro-Pakistan statements were made in the past. “If one wants to ignore its historical importance, it is one’s own choice, but it is a big thing that the tricolour is unfurled there,’’ he said. 

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