Addressing a massive crowd of Congress workers, Gandhi said it is impossible for the country to progress if it follows policies of hatred and anger. Expressing his gratitude for the massive turnout seen in Kerala for his 150-day long yatra, Gandhi said people are joining his walk as they understand that the future of the country was at risk.
“Do you think a country that is divided can solve problems like unemployment? Do you think a divided society can build hospitals, and roads and can educate our children? It is impossible for India to solve such problems if we are following the path of hatred,” Gandhi said.
He said it’s the common people, on whose shoulders this country runs, who pay the price of hatred that is being spread.
“How is it that we have the richest persons in the world but our people pay the highest price for essential items? Is it something that we could just accept? We will not allow the ideology of the RSS and the BJP to divide this country and we will not accept India where millions of Indians are jobless. We will not accept an India where millions of people are drowning in high prices for essential items,” he said.
Gandhi said he has seen a confident Kerala in the last few days of his walk as the state does not believe in hatred, anger or violence. “Today, India is full of anger, violence, and hatred. The BJP spreads this hatred and violence. Its in their DNA and the result is a handful of people make billions in profits,” he said.
The senior leader said the yatra has the support of not only the Congress workers but that of the commoners and some Left workers.
“It’s because everyone understands that this country is at risk. You are not supporting an individual. Individuals are not important. Individuals come and go. You are supporting an idea and you are supporting the culture, the history and the tradition of our country,” he said.
Gandhi said if social reformers like Sree Narayana Guru or Chattambi Swamikal or Mahatma Ayyankali were alive today, they would say Bharat Jodo. He asked Keralites not to lose their ability to love. “It is what defines the people of this state and it is what makes you a successful state. It makes your nurses successful all over the world. It allows you to build cities like Dubai. So I would like to thank you for all the love and affection you have given me. I am in debt to you but I doubt whether I will ever be able to repay it,” he said.
Gandhi said he opted to walk through the nation and rejected the suggestion of using a car as he respects those who cannot afford a car in this country. Earlier in the day, Gandhi met representatives of the tourism industry in Kerala in a houseboat in Vembanad lake.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted a photo of the meeting and said they discussed issues related to the tremendous loss of revenue and jobs in the tourism industry due to the pandemic, the lack of financial assistance from the government, and the lag in revival. Later, Gandhi also participated in a mock snake boat race arranged by the KPCC in Vembanad lake.
Gandhi was seen rowing the snake boat along with around 50 other oarsmen accompanied by two other snake boats.
Earlier, he had met the fisherfolk at Vadackal beach in Alappuzha and discussed their challenges — rising fuel costs, reduced subsidies, dwindling fish stock, lack of social welfare and pensions, inadequate educational opportunities, and environmental destruction — with them.
Senior Congress leaders K Muraleedharan, Kodikkunnil Suresh, Ramesh Chennithala, K C Venugopal, Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly V D Satheesan, Pawan Khera, and others accompanied Gandhi. The 12th day of the yatra which began from Vadackal beach concluded at Kanichakulangara in the Alappuzha district.
The yatra will reach the Ernakulam border on September 20 night and will traverse through the district for two days. The Congress 3,570 km and 150-day-long foot march started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7 and will conclude in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra, which entered Kerala on September 10 evening, will go through the state covering 450 km, touching seven districts over a period of 19 days before entering Karnataka on October 1.